UNLIKE the planned demolition of the old Patria de Cebu building across the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, nobody seems to care about the Sugbu building, the first structure built by the Cebu City Government on the South Road Properties (SRP). For one, it isn’t a heritage building; it was built in 2003, or only 15 years ago. Also, the firm that will demolish it is awash with money.
Every structure built inside the area to be developed jointly by Universal Hotels and Resorts Inc. and the City will be demolished soon to give way to the construction of the P18-billion integrated resort and casino. Considering the magnitude of the development plan, the old structures there are nothing.
But it would have been good if the structures, the Sugbu building specifically, won’t be demolished and instead retained as a monument to the haphazard manner the SRP is being developed. The City would not have wasted money in constructing those structures had the development of the area been well mapped.
After the area was reclaimed using loans that became a financial burden for the Cebu City Government, the best option would have been for the City to create a body that would map out and oversee the development of the reclaimed lots, now known as the SRP. That wasn’t done. Instead, SRP development was subjected to the whims of the mayor—Michael Rama for a time and Tomas Osmeña for the longest time.
Also, laying down a development framework using studies done by experts on how to develop the SRP would have been proper. For a while, the City was well-guided on this one with institutions like the Japan Bank for International Cooperation and the Japan International Cooperation Agency taking active roles in laying out the SRP’s development framework, but the process didn’t work.
Instead, the SRP development framework became “what the mayor (for the longest time Osmeña) wants, the mayor gets.” The Sugbu building and other structures were built on Kawit island sans the development framework, then lots were sold to the highest bidder without the guidance of the said framework. Now the buildings will have to be demolished.
What a waste.