Mayor: P100M shows City’s serious-A A +A
Saturday, October 27, 2012
HOW do you show a program is on your priority list? With a P150-million appropriation.
At least, that’s how Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama explained his proposal to appropriate an additional P100 million to acquire Province-owned lots under Ordinance 93-1.
If the council approves this portion of the draft budget for 2013, it would bring to a total of P150 million the amount earmarked for the lots, including last year’s P50-million appropriation.
“It was a priority to add to the amount and I’m wishing that this will show proof that we are not (amiss) in trying to solve the 93-1 problem,” Rama told reporters.
The mayor remembered he was accused of not solving the problem after meeting with Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia.
Under a land exchange proposal, made when Rep. Tomas Osmeña was still mayor and Rama headed the council as the vice mayor, the City was supposed to give the Capitol its Block 27 at the North Reclamation Area. In exchange, it would have received the 93-1 lots occupied by Cebu City constituents. (The figure 93-1 refers to the number of the ordinance that the Province approved nearly 20 years ago to allow occupants to buy the government-owned lots they were occupying.)
Also yesterday, Mayor Rama was asked for a comment on the appointment of former city administrator Francisco Fernandez as an undersecretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government.
“Mao ba (Oh really)?” was all the mayor could muster.
When pressed further, Rama said he prefers not to add anything else as he might be accused of being envious.
Pagtambayayong Foundation Inc. hosted a thanksgiving mass for Fernandez yesterday, as he was home in Cebu City for the first time after getting his official appointment last Monday.
Fernandez’s job will be focused on the urban poor.
As to the lot acquisition program, Rama said the Cebu City Council should approve the P100-million proposal because the council supports the final resolution of the 93-1 issue.
It does not mean that it is automatic the City Government will pay for the lots, as it will be up to the agencies involved, including the Office of the Vice President.
When asked if they are working under the deadline of Garcia, who promised to end the problem before her term ends on June 30, 2012, Rama said the City Government will be there “in however means the local government” will be needed.
The point of the appropriation is that the City will have the money when needed, he said.
The current negotiation is between the Province, which owns the lots, and the homeowners.
The Province was about to revoke the 93-1 program after the residents failed to hold up their end of the bargain, which is to pay for the properties. Some failed to do so even after several extensions.
Vice President Jejomar Binay has proposed that a P50-million goodwill deposit be in place from the City Government in behalf of the 93-1 residents. The City already approved that in the 2012 budget, but it was left unused. It will be continued in the
“Under my administration, we’re not to be accused of not doing anything,” said Rama.
Rama explained it is not that easy to spend the appropriation when the negotiation has not been finalized. He has directed Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor Chief Collin Rosell to stay on top of things.
Rama said he hopes to find a solution that will be beneficial to all affected residents in 11 barangays, and not just some of them.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 27, 2012.