Editorial: Land swap resolution-A A +A
Thursday, August 9, 2012
AS Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama and Rep. Tomas Osmeña intensify the maneuvering to win over voters to their side in their bid for the top city hall post in the 2013 elections, it has also become increasingly difficult to differentiate honest intention from politicking. This is especially true for initiatives emanating from the Cebu City Council.
How should one treat, for example, the resolution passed by the council authorizing Mayor Michael Rama to revive negotiations with Capitol to swap the province-owned 93-1 lots with a Cebu City property?
While it was passed on mass motion, meaning councilors belonging to Team Rama supported it, the measure is actually a Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) initiative.
The announced reason by the BOPK-allied councilors who sponsored the resolution was, as usual, altruistic. It is supposed to advance the interest of the informal settlers in the said lots as it would give the city leeway to do what it wants to do to resolve the ownership issue.
What the council did not say is that the mayor and Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia have long gone past the controversial land swap proposal, which failed to fly during Osmeña’s term as mayor.
The City and the Province are even going in another direction, one that involves Vice President Jejomar Binay, chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council.
So why pass such a relation only now? Osmeña’s statement on the matter provides an answer that is not flattering to the BOPK-allied councilors. He admitted suggesting to them to move for the revival of the land swap talks and minced no words on this one:
“We are giving him (Rama) a chance to redeem himself. But if he will not (agree to it) we will change the mayor and we will change the governor so we can just do the land swap right away.”
That’s an indirect endorsement of his (Osmeña’s) candidacy for mayor and the bid of Liberal Party’s Hilario “Jun-jun” Davide III, his ally, for governor. And it exposes the real intention of the resolution.
All the supposed altruistic intention of its proponents crumbles. Instead of advancing the interest of the informal settlers, the resolution’s suggestion, if followed, complicates efforts to solve the 93-1 lots problem and uses the settlers’ woes to get votes in 2013.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 10, 2012.