THE Cebu City Council wants the executive department to put on hold the bidding of the 45.2-hectare South Road Properties (SRP).

Councilor Sisinio Andales questioned the mode of disposing the lots and brought up a concern raised by a buyer.

Mayor Michael Rama, though, was firm on his stand that the June 30 bidding will proceed.

During the council's regular session yesterday, Andales said that an ordinance passed by the legislative body in 2012 provides that interested buyers of the SRP should submit an unsolicited proposal for evaluation.

Andales, chairperson of the committee on laws, is referring to City Ordinance (CO) 2332 or the Ordinance Protecting the SRP and its Stakeholders from Unlawful and Unauthorized Transactions and Dealings.

Unsolicited proposals will then go through the Council and the Office of the Mayor for approval.

But Councilor Gerardo Carillo, after Andales' privilege speech, said that CO 2332 only states that the “preferred” mode of disposal for the SRP lots is unsolicited proposal.

"It does not mean absolute. The executive may opt for another remedy, which may include public bidding, which we have right now," said Carillo.

He also said that the resolution does not run contrary to CO 2332 as it only provides the guidelines for the sale.

Dire need

The Council passed a resolution last August authorizing Rama to negotiate and dispose of the 45.2-hectare lot through a public bidding.

"I am not against selling the property at the SRP because we are in dire need of money. However, I would like to caution the City's BAC (bids and awards committee) because a resolution cannot supersede an ordinance. Aware of the legal impediment, we don't want the proposed sale of SRP (to) be declared void,"Andales said in a privilege speech.

The properties to be sold by the City are Lots 7 and 17 with a consolidated area of 19.2 hectares, and Lot 8, which covers 26 hectares.

Lots 7 and 17 sprawl beside the property of Filinvest Land Inc. (FLI) while Lot 8 is the property where the San Pedro Calungsod templete stands, across SM Seaside City.

Earn

The City is expected to earn P9.15 billion from the sale of SRP lots.

Some P4.557 billion will be generated when the deal is sealed.

The amount already forms part of the City's expected revenue this year, where P300 million will be used to fund the construction of the Cebu City Medical Center.

According to the 2015 budget appropriation, some P1.5 billion worth of drainage projects will also be funded by the profit from the SRP sale.

The balance from the sale will be settled within three years, maximum, paid in equal annual installments with six percent interest per year.

Andales also claimed yesterday that interested buyers have raised several concerns in the sale of SRP lots.

For one, Andales said that Ayala Land wants a clear delineation in the areas to be sold, to make sure that it will not encroach in the 7,000-square-meter property the City donated to the Court of Appeals.

Councilor Eugenio Gabuya, for his part, said that the terms of reference (TOR) for the sale of the SRP lots is supposed to be submitted back to the Council for approval.

But Carillo said that the resolution already outlines the TOR.

Despite this, Andales requested the Committee on Awards (not BAC) that handles the sale of the SRP to put on hold the bidding of the lots.

He will also ask the Department of Interior and Local Government in Manila if the 2014 resolution can amend the 2012 ordinance.

Sought for comment, Rama insisted that the bidding has to push through.

"The bidding has to go on. I already made my position. It has to proceed," Rama said.