DWUP eyes P50M budget to purchase 93-1 lots, vows to solve issue next year-A A +A
Saturday, December 7, 2013
THE Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor (DWUP) made a commitment to solve the 93-1 issue by the first quarter of 2014, a program that should justify its request for P50 million, which will be used to acquire Province-owned property in Cebu City.
It was DWUP Chief Collin Rosell’s turn yesterday to defend his office’s 2014 budget proposal.
The P50 million DWUP is requesting will be used to advance the payment for Province-owned lots occupied by Cebu City residents.
The lots affected by Provincial Ordinance 93-1 seeking to commercialize Capitol real property. The Capitol gave lot occupants a chance to buy the property but only a few residents were able to complete payment.
If the latest proposal will be approved, DWUP will have accumulated P150 million for lot acquisition under 93-1. With the funds, Cebu City Hall hopes to come up with a stronger offer in the negotiations with the Cebu Provincial Government.
Rosell admitted, though, that City Hall cannot make a specific strategy because the parties directly involved are Capitol and the homeowners.
But some councilors have reservations about approving DWUP’s proposed budget, citing the P50 million in 2012 and another P50 million this year that were approved for the same purpose.
Councilor Nida Cabrera said she spoke with Gov. Hilario Davide III last Thursday and was told that the Province has its own program pertaining the 93-1 issue. She did not elaborate.
“If we did not use the P50 million then, we might not use it again next year. The City has needs, so perhaps we should have a compromise. We can pass a supplemental budget when the amount is really needed,” said Councilor Alvin Dizon.
Dizon asked Rosell why City Hall was unable to solve the issue in the first term of City Mayor Michael Ram, considering he was friendly with then governor now Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia.
Vice President Jejomar Binay even intervened and it was his idea for the Cebu City Government to appropriate funds as “goodwill deposit” for the 93-1 lots, said Dizon.
Rosell explained to Sun.Star Cebu that the idea is for the City to have the P150 million as fallback: If the Province decides to sell the lots to the homeowners, City Hall can provide the funds.
Rosell fears that if the proposed budget is not approved, the Province would back out.
Councilors allied with the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan are keen on deliberating the budget proposals of the executive branch at City Hall, saying there are not enough funds.
The committee on budget and finance, headed by Councilor Margarita Osmeña, revealed earlier that the City Government’s revenues totaled only P5.8 billion while the executive branch proposed a P10.5 billion budget for 2014.
Councilor Lea Japson also pointed out that the technical working group that Mayor Rama formed last August to solve 93-1 has not been activated yet.
Japson is a member of the group.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 07, 2013.