Sunday, November 20, 2005

Court lifts TRO stopping construction of SM Clark

CLARK ZONE, Pampanga — The construction work on the R500-million SM City Clark project here resumed yesterday after the mall owner made a partial payment of R1.68-million fees being collected by the Angeles City government.

The construction was stopped last week by a 20-day temporary restraining order issued by the Regional Trial Court in Angeles City on the petition of the city government.

The Office of the City Building Official had computed the amount of the fees at R1.68 million that should be paid by the owner.

But because of the delay in the payment, the city government has imposed a 100 percent surcharge. This caused the amount of the fees to balloon to more than R3.3 million.

But reports stated the owner of the building, Premier Central Inc. (PCI), made the partial payment of the fees "under protest" to enable New Golden City Builders Development Corp. (NGCBDC) – the contractor — to continue the construction of the building and meet the scheduled April 2006 opening.

Regional Trial Court Branch 58 Judge Philbert Yturralde issued last Nov. 10 the 20-day TRO stopping the construction of the SM Clark project following a petition filed by Mayor Carmelo Lazatin.

Clark Development Corp. (CDC) President Antonio Ng said the construction work on the mall resumed last Friday after the PCI made the partial payment and posted bond.

Before the start of the construction, the mall owner paid more than R1.5 million in fees to state-owned CDC for the various required permits for the project.

Earlier, Ng was also informed that the construction firm is losing millions of pesos daily as a result of the stoppage of the construction of mall building. NGCBDC was tapped by PCI to construct the mall located at a 25-hectare area in Clark.

Ng said CDC lawyers are coordinating with the Office of Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) on the preparation of a legal opinion regarding the jurisdiction of CDC over the location of SM project.

In the petition, the city government argued that that the construction firm must secure the necessary license from Angeles City before any construction could be undertaken in the disputed area.

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