Capitol eyes donation of lots to Cebu City

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014


CEBU - The Cebu Provincial Government is considering the option of donating the 93-1 lots to Cebu City residents.

Both Governor Hilario Davide III and Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama want to settle this long-running issue during their terms, but still have to discuss the details of going about it.

Rama said that the City is willing to set aside P500 million to solve the challenges involving Cebu City residents on Capitol-owned lots, collectively known as the 93-1 lots, after the provincial ordinance that declared these as housing sites.

“We are motivated to reach completion before our term ends. If not, then at least we would have already taken clear steps to have the solution come into fruition,” Rama said in his regular press conference.

He explained that P200 million of the proposed amount he’s willing for the City to set aside will be used to settle the issue of lot payments, while P300 million will pay for improvements.

Undersecretary Cecilia Alba, secretary-general of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), reminded Davide and Rama in a meeting Wednesday that the Capitol’s agreements with some homeowners’ associations expired last year.

These agreements were signed when Representative Gwendolyn Garcia (Cebu Province, Third District) was still governor.

In 1993, when lawyer Vicente de la Serna was governor, the Capitol tried to give homeless residents in Cebu City the chance to acquire some lots they were occupying, but which belonged to the Province.

The Capitol, under then Governor Pablo Garcia, then his daughter Gwendolyn, repeatedly extended the occupants’ payment periods, but the lot payments have not been completed.

“I asked Mr. Paul Entera. None of these homeowners’ associations nor any of their members was able to pay sa atong gikasabutan nila (what they agreed to pay). So we are back to square one,” Davide said.

He is open to a donation and willing to discuss this option with the City, he said.

Deadline

Mayor Rama earlier asked the Provincial Government to turn over to the City the lots under Ordinance 93-1.

Davide said he is open to that, as well, and that they will discuss several options after Holy Week.

“Let me repeat this, I’d like this problem, I’d like this issue, 93-1, resolved during my term,” Davide said.

Another agreement with the homeowners’ associations is not being ruled out.

“Daghan kaayo gyud ang nagkinahanglan og luna nga mapuy-an (There are a lot of residents who need a lot where they can live). The spirit of 93-1 is giving land to the landless,” Davide added.

Davide, Rama and Alba met Wednesday at the Capitol, along with a representative from the Home Mutual Development Fund or Pag-ibig Fund.

About 5,000 Cebu City residents are occupying the 93-1 lots.

In September 2012, 12 homeowners’ associations covered by 93-1 and two other groups living on another Province-owned property signed an agreement to settle the issue.

Too expensive?

Vice President Jejomar Binay, who heads HUDCC, witnessed the signing of the agreement, which stated that the financing institutions under HUDCC will help the families pay for the lots through the Community Mortgage Program.

These financing institutions include Pag-ibig, the Socialized Housing Finance Corp. and the National Housing Authority.

Davide said the price per square meter varied, depending on where the lots are located.

However, the homeowners’ associations informed the Capitol that the prices were too high for them, the governor said.

The 12 associations who occupy the 93-1 lots are the Capitol Site Homeowners, Railway Station Homeowners’ Association Inc., Lesdom Homeowners, San Miguel Homeowners, Mabolo Homeowners, Lot 1432 Homeowners, Lot 1433 Homeowners, Sitio Agay-ay Urban Development Residents’ Association, Kasambagan Riverside Homeowners, Lot 1330 and Lot 1331 Homeowners and the Hilltop Nivel Hills Lot 1405 Homeowners.

The other two associations that also signed a deal with the Capitol were the Actual Occupants and Residents of Oprra Kalunasan Inc. in Kalunasan, Cebu City and the Sugbo-GK Village Homeowners’ Association Inc. in Tunghaan, Minglanilla town.

Promise

Davide said the Capitol also needed to review the expired agreements.

Rama, for his part, said he has repeatedly mentioned the proposal to set aside P500 million in a meeting with Governor Davide and Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale.

But yesterday was the first time he shared his offer with a representative of Vice President Binay.

Rama repeated the promise he made during the term of then governor Gwendolyn Garcia that he wanted the issue solved before his term ends.

Davide is now in the 10th month of his first term as governor, while Rama is on his second term as mayor.

Rama said that the next steps for the group—composed of the Capitol, City Hall, HUDCC and Pag-IBIG—would be made clearer after Holy Week. (Sun.Star Cebu)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 17, 2014.

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