Dino: Cebu City mayor 'scaring off' investors

PRESIDENTIAL Assistant for the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino described Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña as a “bully.”

In a news conference Tuesday, Dino said the move of Osmeña to run after SM Prime Holdings Inc. and BDO Unibank and the recent pronouncement of Filinvest Land Inc. (FLI) that it will rescind the contract for the purchase of lots in the South Road Properties (SRP) are very “saddening and alarming.”

Dino also described the move as anti-business and anti-poor.

He said that several business groups already came to him and asked him to intervene.

Dino said some business owners are confused because of Osmeña's order to shut down establishments that don't need to be closed and to open those that need to be closed.

One example, Dino added, is the Inayawan Sanitary Landfill, which Osmeña wants to be open despite the facility's environmental violations.

The situation, Dino said, has made investors refocus their investments on other areas like Iloilo, Bacolod and Davao, among others.

Asked how he can help them, Dino said he will connect with the concerned line agencies.

Dino said he is willing to talk to the mayor.

If there are obligations that the City failed to comply with during the administration of former mayor Michael Rama, Dino said Osmeña can correct these instead of pushing for the cancellation of the contract.

In his news conference yesterday, Osmeña said the City Government and FLI management are consolidating their legal options on the plan to rescind the contract on the sale of two parcels of lot at the SRP.

The mayor said it will take 30 days to finish the consolidation.

When asked if he should get council approval, Osmeña said it will depend on the situation.

As to allegations of some councilors that FLI succumbed to the pressure of the executive department in deciding to return the lots, Osmeña said everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

Councilor Jose Daluz III earlier said that FLI was pressured by the executive to return the lots.

Daluz said the declaration is unilateral and reminded that the mayor does not represent the whole City.

Before the mayor can rescind the contract, Daluz said he needs council approval because the parties are the Cebu City Government and FLI.

In a press conference last Monday, Tristan Las Marias, FLI senior vice president for Visayas and Mindanao, announced that they have agreed, in principle, with the City to rescind the contract for the sale of SRP lots worth P6.8 billion.

This, after the City failed to comply with some of its obligations to FLI.

Las Marias said the City failed to release the lot titles even if they won the public bidding in June 2015 yet.

Osmeña said City will refund the P4 billion FLI made as down payment for the 19.2-hectare property it purchased.

In June 2015, City sold three parcels of lots at the SRP with a combined area of 45.2-hectares. Some 26 hectares were sold to the consortium of Ayala Land-Cebu Holdings Inc. and SM Prime Holdings Inc.
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