Editorial: That Filinvest-City Hall statement

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Friday, December 20, 2013

THE release by the Cebu City Government and Filinvest Land Inc. of a joint press statement published as one-page paid advertisement in local papers shows that everything is well with regards to their joint venture in the South Road Properties (SRP).

This follows the surfacing of a rift early this month involving the city’s share in the revenue from their joint venture. City Legal Officer Jerone Castillo had threatened to go to court to compel Filinvest to pay the city’s share of the profits from the sale of the project’s developed units.

Filinvest for its part said that it has remitted City Hall’s profit share and has even paid “advances for the city’s profit share on sales we have not yet collected.”

Sun.Star Cebu editorial cartoon for December 21, 2013
Cartoon by Josua Cabrera of Sun.Star Cebu

But it’s good that before things could heat up further, a last-ditch meeting was held in Manila by Cebu City government officials led by Mayor Michael Rama and Filinvest officials. The product of that last-ditch meeting was the joint press statement.

The mayor, when asked by reporters about the new development, merely referred the reporters to the content of the joint press statement. That response only means that city officials and Filinvest will already be resolving conflicts behind closed doors.

The joint press statement no longer talked about the issues that the city legal officer raised in his press conference early this month. But Acting City Treasurer Diwa Cuevas did confirm the receipt by the city of P150 million from Filinvest as its advance payment.

This could be interpreted to mean that City Hall making noise about the supposed non-payment by Filinvest of the share of the city from the profits of the sale of the project’s developed units paid off. It showed that the mayor is not about to go soft in the joint venture.

To recall, the joint venture was conceived under the administration of then mayor Tomas Osmeña, who lost to Rama in the elections last May. Osmeña and his Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) allies in the city council are functioning as opposition to Rama’s rule.

Hopefully, that last-ditch meeting cleared the air between Rama and Filinvest officials and erased suspicions the mayor may have harbored with regards to Filinvest intentions.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 21, 2013.


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