A Senate inquiry is now being called on the proposed 174-hectare reclamation project off the shores of Dumaguete City.

Senator Risa Hontiveros filed Tuesday Senate resolution number 807, urging the appropriate committees to investigate the Dumaguete Smart City reclamation and wastewater project.

Hontiveros authored the resolution based on what she described as “massive opposition” from Dumaguete residents against the P23 billion project, citing a July 22, 2021 editorial of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

The Philippine Association of Marine Science, she said, has warned that the project would bury “hectares of coral reefs and seagrass beds,” endangering the livelihood of hundreds of local fisherfolk.

Hontiveros also raised doubts on the “track record” and “financial capacity” of project proponent Makati-based construction firm E.M. Cuerpo Inc.

The senator is also alarmed with the reported Memorandum of Agreement between E.M. Cuerpo and its China-based subcontractor, state-owned company Poly Changda Overseas Engineering Co., Ltd.

She said it is “suspicious” that E.M. Cuerpo agrees to sell its share in the reclamation project and proceeds to pay Poly Changda Co, raising the possibility that the former is a “mere dummy.”

Dumaguete City Mayor Felipe Remollo and his allies in the city council have been mum on Poly Changda’s involvement in the project.

The council, dominated by allies of the administration, has granted Remollo the authority to sign a Joint Venture Agreement, which was later renamed as a Memorandum of Understanding early this July. The signing of the MOU has been on hold amid opposition against the project. Ryan Sorote