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BCDA: Construction of SM Aura mall in Taguig is illegal

May 19, 2013 11:02pm

The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), in a statement issued over the weekend, claimed that the SM Aura mall in Taguig City was illegally built on land which was supposed to be used for a civic center, or local or national government office. It was a claim SM Prime Holdings, Inc. heatedly denied.

Citing Section 8 of the Republic Act 7917, BCDA president and chief executive Arnel Paciano Casanova said SM Aura sits on land donated by BCDA to Taguig. “Instead of bidding out the land and remitting the proceeds to the AFP for its modernization, we turned over this land so it can be put to good civic use.”

SM Prime Holdings, Inc. won a bid in 2007 to use the land from the local government of Taguig.

SM Aura, which has a gross floor area of 234,892 square meters, is SM Prime’s 47th mall. It incorporates office towers, a chapel, a convention center, and a mini-coliseum.

BCDA said it will continue to contest a temporary restraining order that allowed SM Prime to continue building a road from the McKinley Parkway to the new mall in Aura. It alleged the road construction was done without a permit.

“SM occupied the property forcibly after its request to construct was denied by BCDA," said Casanova.

"Despite being denied a permit by the proper authorities, they still proceeded with utter impunity and disregard of the law,” he added.

BCDA said it sent several letters to the company to cease construction, but SM and the local government of Taguig were able to get a TRO on May 16 to proceed with the construction.

Conveyed not donated

But SM, in its own statement countered there was nothing illegal as the TRO did allow them to build the road.

SM claimed that the road from McKinley Parkway to SM Aura was duly and formally authorized by the City of Taguig. And the city, by virtue of the TRO, gave Taguig unhampered use of the McKinley parkway road.

The city was thus within its rights when it tasked SM to complete the unfinished portion of McKinley Parkway, in the interest of public safety and in the exercise of its inherent police powers pursuant to the pertinent laws.

As for the land being used by the mall instead, SM alleged the BCDA “conveyed” the property to the City of Taguig by way of compromise. SM emphasized the property was not donated.   

“The deed of conveyance specifically provides that BCDA will not 'place any restrictions on the land use or zoning of the properties.' There are, no liens, encumbrances or restrictions annotated on the titles to the property,” the SM statement read. — DVM/VS, GMA News
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