Rama calls for sober heads in road row

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Monday, July 14, 2014


CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama yesterday said he is ready to cut ties with whoever promotes “oppression” in the dispute between Filinvest Land Inc. (FLI) and the Cebu Property Ventures and Development (CPVDC) over a road in Barangay Apas.

“Friendship should end when general welfare demands. Friendship should end if unreasonableness is being projected. Friendship will end if selfishness reigns,” he said.

It was earlier reported that the P5-billion business process outsourcing (BPO) project of FLI has stalled for more than a year since CPVDC has barred FLI access to W. Geonzon St. at the Cebu IT Park in going to its construction site.

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In his regular news conference yesterday, the mayor asked CPVDC to be “sober” and allow access to W. Geonzon St.

Need for parallel road

He said there is no need to talk about road ownership and limiting its access to the public.

“Let’s just think about love, love for the people of the City of Cebu,” he said.

Rama also said the area should be accessible, adding that there is a need for a parallel road to address traffic on Salinas Drive. Also, an access road is needed to address traffic along the Banilad-Talamban corridor, he said.

The mayor said that had he known that access to W. Geonzon St. would be limited, he would have not transferred the Bagong Buhay Rehabilitation Center to Barangay Kalunasan.

W. Geonzon St. is titled under CPVDC and CPVDC has limited access to IT Park so as not to compromise its registration with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza).

While it has allowed the public to use the road, CPVDC officials said it is only by mere tolerance.

To settle the matter, though, Rama is asking FLI, CPVDC and the Provincial Government to meet and discuss the matter.

FLI and the Province are undertaking the BPO project through a joint-venture agreement.

The mayor said he is offering his office as a venue for the meeting.

FLI first vice president Tristan Las Marias, in a statement sent yesterday, said CPVDC’s recent statement that the public’s access to W. Geonzon St. is only be mere
tolerance is “frightening.”

Las Marias said CPVDC had requested the City’s Local Tax Board in 2006 to exempt it from paying real property taxes on the said street, a move which had been granted.

‘Frightening’

Since 2006, Las Marias said the CPVDC has not been paying real property taxes for W. Geonzon St. amounting to about P24 million or P26 million annually because of the exemption.

“It is very frightening for the constituents of Apas that after CPVDC was exempted from paying P26 million for the past nine years, the company is now saying that Geonzon St. is only open to the public because CPVDC merely tolerates it,” he said.

Atty. Jeanette Japzon, corporate communications manager of Cebu Holdings Inc. (CHI), explained though that by mere tolerance, they are not preventing the public from traversing W. Geonzon St.

“What IT Park investors and locators are concerned about is breaching our boundary to create a new access,” she said in a separate statement.

Japzon said it is unfortunate that the focus now is on W. Geonzon St. when there are at least two other access points to the project of FLI, which is outside the IT Park, including Salinas Drive.

“We need to enforce our boundaries not only for business and security purposes but to comply with our Peza accreditation as well, which is one of the reasons for investors to come to Cebu and locate to IT Park,” she said.

CHI is a subsidiary of CPVDC and an affiliate of Ayala Land Inc.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 15, 2014.

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