Province still ‘owns portion of Geonzon St.’

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014


A PORTION of the façade of the Cebu Asiatown IT Park, including its two entrances and a portion of W. Geonzon St., is still owned by the Provincial Government, Capitol records show.

Since these areas are covered by land titles registered under the Province of Cebu, a Capitol official hinted that the Province could use and close the roads, if necessary.

The possibility was raised as Filinvest Land Inc.’s (FLI) row with the Cebu Property Ventures Development Corp. (CPVDC) over Geonzon St. continues, causing delays in the completion of FLI’s and the Province’s joint venture project beside the IT Park.

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FLI was allegedly prohibited by CPVDC to open an access road from its construction site, passing through CPVDC’s perimeter to cross to Geonzon St. inside the IT Park.

The top management of CPVDC earlier said that W. Geonzon St. will always be open to the public, and that FLI is free to use the existing road.

But CPVDC officials said that it also needs to protect the park’s boundaries along W. Geonzon St. in compliance with its agreement with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority, that is why they cannot allow FLI to breach property boundaries.

In an interview yesterday, Provincial Real Estate administrator Paul Entera said that it’s the Capitol that owns the 11,182-square-meter portion in the front area of the IT Park, parallel to Salinas Drive.

The area covers a portion of W. Geonzon St. at the corner of Salinas Drive and the other entrance where a welcome arc stands, across the driveway of Waterfront Cebu City Hotel.

Entera said the Capitol property stretches from the former Drug Rehabilitation and After Care Center (DRACC), a parking area, basketball court all the way to the shoulder of Salinas Drive up to Gov. Cuenco Ave.

The area is covered by Transfer of Certificate Title No. 104314 and is registered under the Province of Cebu.

He said the CPVDC decided to leave the ownership of the façade of the IT Park with the Province, as there might be government road widening projects in the future.

“So kung pasirad-an na sa Capitolyo wala gyu’y mahimo ang Ayala,” a Capitol official, who requested anonymity, said. The source was referring to W. Geonzon St. and the other entrance to the park.

The Capitol official recalled former governor Gwen Garcia’s decision to close the Province-owned Larsian road in Fuente- Osmena in 2007, when the relationship between the Province and the Cebu City Government turned sour. The road was reopened in 2011 when Mayor Michael Rama was elected.

The same official also noted that the minutes of a pre-bid meeting for the BPO tower project showed CPVDC’s commitment to giving the winning bidder access to Geonzon St.

But this was not realized after Capitol awarded the contract to FLI in February 2012, rejecting the bid offer of Vicsal Development Corp. and the Ayala-affiliate Cebu Holdings Inc.

CPVDC is a subsidiary of Cebu Holdings Inc. (CHI), which is an affiliate of Ayala Land.

FLI officials earlier said that the first of the four BPO towers was not turned over as scheduled in May last year, resulting in delays in Capitol’s share in the gross sales of FLI.

The joint venture agreement of FLI and the Province requires FLI to pay Capitol a monthly rent of P600,000 upon the ground-breaking on the 1.2-hectare lot.

It is also required to turn over to the Capitol every month a two-percent share of its gross revenue for the sale or lease of the buildings, or an equivalent of P500,000 whichever is higher.

The Provincial Treasurer’s Office’s records showed that the Province already collected P7.534 million in rent from FLI in 2013 and P2.935 million from January to May this year.

In a phone interview yesterday, lawyer Jeanette Japzon, CHI’s corporate communications manager, declined to comment on the Capitol official’s statement since there is no formal notice yet of a road closure.

“I cannot comment on a mere speculation,” she told Sun.Star Cebu.

As for the Province’s ownership of the front area of the IT Park, she said that Capitol officials are in a better position to confirm its ownership.

Also yesterday, Provincial Treasurer Manny Guial clarified that the Province is no longer a major stockholder of CPVDC, contrary to CPVDC’s earlier statement that the Province has a major stake.

He said the Province started selling its shares in 1998, and subsequently lost its two seats in the CPVDC board.

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

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