Tomas’s crazy idea-A A +A
Sunday, September 15, 2013
CITIZEN Tomas Osmeña insisted that Mayor Mike Rama should come up with a concrete plan on how to sell the South Road Properties (SRP) and this should be subjected to a public consultation or referendum.
He said he would no longer meddle in how the present administration deal with the SRP? Kaha? Sure siya?
For me, this is a crazy idea. What is a referendum? A referendum (or a plebiscite or a vote on a ballot in question) is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. It is an election process.
Constituents go to a polling precinct and cast their votes on an issue, such as the referendum in Barangay Guadalupe, where the issue was about the splitting up of the barangay and the creation of Barangay Banawa-Englis. Majority of the voters in Guadalupe rejected the proposal.
When Tomas was the mayor and conceptualized the creation of the multi-billion peso SRP, did he consult the Cebuanos or conduct a referendum about his brainchild? When SRP was ready for disposal, did he consult the Cebuanos about the proposal of FilInvest and SM Prime Holdings to buy a portion of the 300-hectare lot? Did he conduct a referendum when he donated a parcel of lot to the University of the Philippines? He did not. He was practically calling the shots as if the SRP were his personal property.
And now he is talking about public consultation and referendum on the move of Mayor Rama. Wala siya kuyapi? What’s the use of our City Council?
We are a representative government. We elected officials to represent the people in our legislature. An approval of the City Council is already a legal move to make the transaction legitimate. If he would no longer meddle in the disposal of the SRP, he should instruct his political lieutenants in the council to support the executive decision.
Tomas should be reminded that he does not own SRP. It’s the taxpayers of Cebu who are the ones paying for that huge loan and interest from the Japan Bank of International Cooperation (JBIC). If he does not allow Mike to sell SRP lots, where will the City Government get the revenue to pay for the loan? Currently, the City’s revenue collection is enough to offset the City’s other expenses. Do we need to increase our taxes?
Mike’s plan for use of SRP revenue includes the construction of a comprehensive drainage system. This plan should be supported by Tomas’s allies in the council because we always experience flooding everytime there is heavy downpour. Kanus-a pa man na nila sulbaron ang baha? (When do they intend to solve flooding?)
Tomas also said that it’s not a wise move to sell SRP as of this time because SM and FilInvest are not yet fully developed. He defended his position by saying that we should wait for these companies to be fully developed as the prices of SRP lots will go higher then. Crazy idea again.
Why wait for SM and FilInvest to be fully developed before we dispose of some SRP lots? If there are interested buyers now, then by all means dispose of those lots because if the deal is consummated, the buyers will start paying real property taxes.
This means another income for the city even if the buyers will not develop yet their properties.
That’s what they call speculators.
But to stop this kind of practice by some investors, it should then be put in the agreement that they should develop their property on a deadline. If not, the City Government has the right to re-possess the property. That is what the Ayalas are doing. In fact, they can dictate the design of the buildings to be constructed in their properties. What can the City Government get if those lots remain idle? None.
With few investors, we can still consider SRP a white elephant.
Unya maghinakog si Tomas anang SRP kay huwaton pa nga makabalik siya sa City Hall?
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 16, 2013.