CEBU City Hall will be selling nearly three hectares in the South Road Properties (SRP), which is estimated to generate around P3.3 billion.

Twelve out of 17 members of the City Council present during yesterday’s regular session voted in favor of the legislation filed by Councilor Nendell Hanz Abella supplementing City Ordinance (CO) 2332, which protects the SRP and its stakeholders from unlawful and unauthorized transactions.

The areas for sale are two lots in Pond F composed of Lot 1-F-8-A with an area of 25,769 square meters (sq.m.) and Lot 1-H-1 with an area of 3,349 sq.m.

Abella said the City Government can generate income by selling the area at P110,000 per sq.m.

Buyers may pay in full or in two installments, which shall be at least 50 percent upon signing of the sale documents after a public auction, and the remaining half upon approval of the Commission on Audit.

But prior to its approval, the ordinance was the subject of argument between the administration and the opposition.

Councilors from the Barug Team Rama bloc argued there was no need to pass an ordinance since a resolution would suffice.

The administration, though, lamented that the Department of Interior and Local Government does not allow this.

To settle the argument, Councilor Jose Daluz III suggested that Abella modify his legislation authorizing the mayor to sell the property, instead of supplementing CO 2332.

Abella, however, maintained that he will stick to his original proposal as it will protect both the City and the winning bidder.

After a 25-minute heated discussion, the majority bloc and three councilors from the opposition voted for the approval of the ordinance.

Those who voted in favor were Councilors Abella, Margarita Osmeña, Joy Augustus Young, Sisinio Andales, Eugenio Gabuya Jr., Alvin Arcilla, Jerry Guardo, Mary Ann delos Santos, Dave Tumulak, James Anthony Cuenco, Eduardo Rama Jr., Philip Zafra and Daluz.

Councilors Joel Garganera, Raymond Garcia, Joy Pesquera and Pastor Alcover Jr., on the other hand, abstained.

They, however, clarified that they are for the sale of the property, but have their reservations.

“There’s a vagueness between the words amending and supplementing. Up to now, I’m not satisfactorily convinced on the matter,” Garganera said.

Pesquera said her abstention is due to the failure to attach a report from the committee on appraisal pegging the minimum floor price of the property to be sold.

Garcia said he would’ve wanted the measure to require qualified bidders to at least have P500 million worth of assets and a five-year experience in property development, among others.

“I also want the executive department to answer if the two-hectares of land in SRP the City exchanged with the Province was illegal. They said all lot disposals involving the SRP should be contained in an ordinance, but the 93-1 lots were exchanged through a resolution authorizing the mayor to enter into a memorandum of agreement,” Garcia said.

Sought for comment on the development, former mayor Michael Rama said he will discuss the matter with the Team Rama councilors.

“But whatever will be good for the city, we will never be obstructionists,” he told SunStar Cebu.

The City sold 45.2 hectares in the SRP last year, a transaction made during the time of Rama that Osmeña wants revoked, saying it was “anomalous” as it was passed through a resolution.