Rama’s allies try to lift ‘ban’-A A +A
Friday, September 20, 2013
FOUR allies of Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama filed a proposed ordinance to repeal the ban on the sale of lots in the South Road Properties (SRP) without the City Council’s approval.
Councilors Mary Ann delos Santos, James Cuenco, Hanz Abella and Dave Tumulak said City Ordinance (CO) 2332 impedes the authority of the mayor “to openly entertain” prospective buyers of the 300-hectare property.
They also said the City needs to sell parts of the SRP to properly manage its cash flow and maximize its delivery of basic services.
In last Wednesday’s session, the council referred the proposed ordinance to the committee on laws headed by Councilor Sisinio Andales, a member of the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK).
At the heart of the matter is CO 2332, which the previous council passed in July last year. Rama had vetoed the ordinance, written by Councilor Noel Wenceslao of the BOPK, but the majority mustered enough votes to override the mayor’s veto.
In a news conference he called in his house in Barangay Guadalupe yesterday, BOPK chief Tomas Osmeña said that CO 2332 does not prevent the mayor from selling the SRP.
“That is a great misconception (that he cannot sell SRP),” he said.
The former mayor and former south district congressman said that the ordinance only provides that prospective buyers of the SRP should submit an unsolicited proposal to City Hall.
If Rama already wants the City to earn money, Osmeña said he should sell the residential units of the Filinvest Land of the Inc. (FLI) at the SRP. It is a joint venture project of FLI and the City.
He added that Rama can also have the SRP leased.
Discussions over revenue-raising and the City’s budget often emphasize the division in the council.
While the local finance committee said that the City does not have a budget deficit, the councilors allied with Rama said the City needs to sell some real properties to improve its cash position.
That, it said, will pave the way for more benefits for persons with disabilities, senior citizens, barangay officials and scholars. The executive department also wants to buy additional dump trucks and modern firefighting equipment, as well as improve the health services of the Cebu City Medical Center, among others.
“By repealing and abrogating CO 2332, the administration will be given a better option in converting portions of its real properties into possible cash,” the councilors said in their one-page proposed legislation.
They then said that the mayor will still have to seek authorization from the council before he signs a contract with SRP’s prospective buyers.
They cited Section 22 of Republic Act 7160, the Local Government Code, which states that “no contract may be entered into by the local chief executive in behalf of the the local government unit without prior authorization by the Sanggunian (Council) concerned.”
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 20, 2013.