Homeowners ask city council to repeal ordinance that paved way for ‘mega project’ in CDO

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – A homeowners’ association in the uptown area of this city has asked the current city council to repeal a city ordinance that changed the zoning of the area beside a village where a “mega project” will be built.

Arthur Aranas, president of the Morning Mist Village Homeowners Association, has urged the city council to repeal City Ordinance No. 14256-2022 which he alleged was hastily passed and approved by the previous council to change the zoning of an area and pave the way for the construction of a mega project beside Morning Mist Village.

"It (referring to the said city ordinance) was done in 53 seconds without second reading; without final reading," Aranas told the Manila Bulletin in a phone interview.

The ordinance in question allowed the rezoning of the land use of Lot-1 PCS-10-002317 PCS-10-003135 (Site of the Pueblo de Oro Business Park and Masterson Mile North) located along Masterson Ave. in Barangay Carmen in this city.

The homeowners, according to Aranas, are opposing the mega project that will be built in about 256,620-square meter lot, allegedly because they were not informed, nor consulted about the Masterson Mile Towers Project of the Pueblo de Oro Development Corp., which will consist of five 24- to 26-story buildings.

Based on the information, the area of 256,620 square meters from "Medium Density Commercial Zone (C-2)" to "High-Density Commercial Zone (C-3)," was approved by the previous city council.

The homeowners claimed they only got to know about the project when they attended a public hearing in Barangay Carmen Hall on March 24 this year. The project’s plan, according to Aranas, has been in place since October last year.

A letter has been sent by Aranas to the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD)-Region 10 on April 3, 2023, inquiring if the agency was asked about the zoning ordinance from the city.

Aranas showed to the Manila Bulletin the response letter from DHSUD-10, signed by its regional director Ariel Abragan, saying that they "have not received the said rezoning nor reclassification application from the LGU (local government unit) of Cagayan de Oro City, despite the resolution of its approval."

The Manila Bulletin already asked DHSUD-10 for the authenticity of the letter. The agency has yet to release a response.

The association also got a certified true copy of the subdivision plan of the Morning Mist Village from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-Region 10, where the area of the Masterson Mile Towers Project, Aranas said, is allegedly under their village’s jurisdiction.

Councilor Edgar Cabanlas said the council’s committee on landed estate and subdivision already had a discussion with the City Planning and Development Office (CPDO) and City Legal Office to suspend the reclassification from C2 to C3 on Monday, May 1.

This is also to consolidate Pueblo de Oro’s request for the ongoing revision of the city’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan and Zoning Ordinance for 2023.

"Before they (Pueblo de Oro) can make a hole in the area, they have to undergo a lot of processes, applications, and permits, even one of which they don’t have yet," Cabanlas told the Manila Bulletin on Thursday, April 27, clarifying that the city’s reclassification is not yet final and has to be reviewed, approved, and authenticated by the Housing Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB).

The local legislator also responded to the allegation and said that the previous city council had approved City Ordinance No. 14256-2022, following the recommendation from CPDO.

The homeowners of the Morning Mist Village have clarified that they are not against development and progress but instead call for responsible development, stressing the need to fix the problems first in their area in terms of traffic, peace and order, among others.

"Kung maghimo lang kag project diha ug mu-ingon ka nga bahala nang traffic dinha mag-rayot na sila, unsa man tawag nimo (If you build a project there and you let the traffic ramble, what do you call that) progress? Progress is not unanimous with chaos," Aranas said.

The Manila Bulletin went to the office of the Pueblo de Oro Development Corp. on Wednesday, April 26, to get its side. However, according to the security personnel, the general manager was not around, but the company assured that they would immediately release if a statement was issued.

The MMVHOA, during its peaceful protest on April 22, was supported by the Federation of Uptown Village and Homeowners Association Inc. (FUVHOA), which comprises 16 village subdivisions in this city, as well as the concerned parents, teachers, alumni, and communities of XU.

Aranas said they will forget everything if the current city council repeals the ordinance, or else they will be forced to raise their complaints with the Office of the Ombudsman.