Saturday August 18, 2018

Technical problems delay lot swap deal

CEBU City Mayor Tomas Osmeña admitted that the City Government has problems with the proposed land swap deal involving City and Province-owned lots.

This, as opposition Councilor Joel Garganera asked Osmeña for developments on the 93-1 issue, after he had promised beneficiaries the decades-old matter would be solved if he was elected mayor.

In his news conference yesterday, Osmeña said technical issues have delayed the land swap. One issue is whether it’s an ordinance or a resolution that is needed to dispose of lots in the South Road Properties (SRP).

“We have some technical problems. They have to amend the ordinance that they have to do this. Yes, that’s a problem and I’m determined to solve that,” he told reporters.

Under the Deed of Donation and Acceptance, the Cebu Provincial Government will hand over 34.2 hectares of land covered by Cebu Provincial Ordinance 93-1 in 11 barangays in the city. They are occupied mostly by urban poor families.

It will also turn over 1.5 hectares of land in the Department of Agriculture compound on M. Velez St.; a 2,358-square-meter lot on Gorordo Ave. in Barangay Lahug, and 577 square meters on Don Gil Garcia St. in Barangay Capitol Site.

In exchange, the Capitol will get 16.4 hectares, mostly prime properties, from Cebu City, which include its sewage treatment plant in the North Reclamation Area (NRA) and a 13-hectare City-owned relocation site in Barangay Pulpogan, Consolacion.

The Province will also take over Block 27 in the NRA, a two-hectare lot in the SRP, and the Cebu City Zoo.

Osmeña said an ordinance is no longer needed since the City will not sell SRP lots.

“We have an ordinance that says you can’t sell SRP. They should have amended that because technically, for me, we’re not selling it. We’re giving it, it’s a land swap,” he said.

Osmeña vowed to settle the problems this year.

In a separate interview, Garganera said they already passed a resolution in the City Council to help Osmeña resolve the decades-old problem involving 93-1 lots. But up to now, the City and Capitol have yet to close the deal.

“Before the 2016 election, he had this drama that the 93-1 will be solved, but where is it now? Come 2019, that will be a political issue again. He said we always block it but so far, he has yet to accomplish something,” Garganera said.

Osmeña and Gov. Hilario Davide III signed the memorandum of agreement for the land swap last Dec. 7, 2016. (RVC)