Why not dispose of the city’s idle lots?-A A +A
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
IN ORDER for the city government to get additional revenues so it can implement ambitious projects like a
comprehensive drainage system, why not dispose of the city's idle lots either though outright sale or via joint ventures? Why do we have to wait for the city to sell a portion of the South Road Properties (SRP) to be able to gain more revenues?
Disposing of the SRP lots will take several years especially now that it is caught between the warring Mayor Michael Rama and his political-mentor-turned-bitter-political-rival, Tomas Osmeña. I said this before and I say it again, Mike cannot sell SRP lots as long as the city council is dominated by Tomas's Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK).
But there are other prime properties owned by the city government, like that in Block 27 near SM City at the north reclamation area. It has an estimated value of half-a-billion pesos.
City officials are planning to use that lot as collateral to acquire loans. But why consider it merely as collateral? Dispose of it either through outright sale or through joint venture with interested parties.
When he was city mayor, Tomas disposed of a lot near the old White Gold Department store. It was once occupied by the Department of Public Services. The buyer, Robinson's conglomerate, is building in the area a shopping mall and condominium buildings. I am sure it will become an added attraction and center of economic activity in the city.
Some sectors criticized former Cebu governor Lito Osmeña, who was the architect of Cebu’s economic boom (Ceboom), for disposing of province-owned lots, especially that area where Ayala mall and the Cebu Business Park stand now. That area used to be a golf course.
We even accused Lito of having a personal and business agenda in doing it. But look at what the area is now. It has become the center of Cebu’s economic development. It not only helps prop up the city's economy but also employs Cebuanos.
The former Lahug airport is another example. It is now one of the information technology hubs in the country.
The plan of former governor Gwen Garcia to recover the armed forces’ Central Command lots in barangay Apas and converting it into a business area was also good. I don't know if Gov. Junjun Davide shares the same vision with Gwen.
I am just floating this idea of selling the city's idle lots to spark economic activities in the city and in the process partially solve the city’s unemployment and criminality problem. If most people have means of earning a living, only very few would commit crime.
I am congratulating my friend and spiritual adviser, Fr. Rommel Mark Barneso, for his new assignment. He is now with the Virgin de los Remedios parish in Labangon, Cebu City. Fr. Mark was assistant parish priest in Bantayan and then in the Pinamungajan parish. He was later assigned to the Canduman parish in Mandaue City.
Other priest-friends who have new assignments are former Carcar City assistant parish priest Fr. Mario Villacastin, who is now one of the assistants at the Metropolitan Cathedral, and Fr. Bernardo Oyao, who came from Guadalupe parish to Dalaguete parish.
Fr. Mark also chaired the Archdiocese's Commission on Youth. He headed the Cebu delegation to the World Youth Congress in Brazil last July. It was his second time to attend the world's biggest religious gathering that was graced by no less than the Pope.
He was in Madrid, Spain two years ago. He was also tasked to organize the “Barkada ni Pedro,” a youth group that played an active role during the thanksgiving mass for the canonization of Cebuano saint Pedro Calungsod last year. Fr. Mark's “kura” in Remedios parish is Fr. Jaime Borces. Good luck Fr. Mark in your new assignment. At least, naduol kana sa imong mga higala.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 02, 2013.