The R4 billion Smokey Mountain Development and Reclamation project (SMDRP) in Tondo, Manila is a legitimate and valid project that underwent prescribed bidding procedures with full transparency that spanned the administrations of former Presidents Aquino, Ramos, Estrada and current President Arroyo, Reghis M. Romero II, chief executive officer of R-II Builders that built the project, said yesterday.
issued the clarification during a press conference at the Philippine Westin Plaza in Pasay City, in response to the privilege speech last Wednesday by Sen.
said in a statement that the project was initiated during the Aquino
administration through Presidential Proclamation 415 last Jan. 17, 1992 when President Aquino resolved to transform the Smokey Mountain, then the symbol of the country's poverty and social malaise into a showcase of decent living conditions of the on-site resident scavengers.Romero
said that the SMDRP was not just a reclamation project as much as it was a housing and garbage-clearing program of government as the provision of housing units also entailed making livelihood programs and employment opportunities.He
maintained that the reclamation of 79 hectares was merely the "enabling component" or the manner by which funds would be raised to finance the housing initiative.
"In this respect alone, the SMDRP was patently different from the PEA-Amari deal which was solely a land reclamation project with the two parties sharing the reclaimed land on a 70-30 basis," he
is one of the kidnapping victims that was able to escape from the hands of the notorious Abu Sayyaf group in Lamitan, Basilan island.
said that the SMDRP was investigated in 2000 by the House of Representatives and the Senate.
"Not only did Congress not find anything wrong with the project, it even instructed the NHA to fast-track its implementation," he
also belied allegations that the reclaimed land had been registered in the name of R-II Builders