ANNOUNCING Cebu City’s “P3-billion surplus” yesterday, Mayor Tomas Osmeña taunted the Capitol by saying it will have to sell the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC) in Mandaue City as scrap metal in two years.
He said the CICC cannot compare with the convention facility that SM Prime Holdings will build in the South Road Properties (SRP).
Osmeña made the dig while announcing a plan to convert half of the City’s projected surplus into a yen account, as a hedge against currency devaluations.
The City’s loan for the SRP is in yen.
Part of the P3.194-billion budget surplus the mayor announced is the P269 million that Filinvest Land Inc. (FLI) paid the other day.
Sought for comment, Capitol consultant Rory Jon Sepulveda said the mayor is envious of the Province and his attacks are merely a strategy to hide his inaction on basic problems, like heavy traffic and poor drainage.
The mayor, Sepulveda said, is trying to distract Cebuanos from the real issue, “the miserable state of the city.”
Instead of bragging about the City’s surplus, the mayor should address its problems first, he added.
“The issue now is to address the concerns of the city. Nasina siya. Mangaway na lang siya (He’s envious, so he always tries to pick fights),” he added.
Sepulveda also said the CICC is earning from organizers of seminars and other activities, which the mayor can verify with the center’s management.
Last Jan. 14, City Hall closed the sale of a 30-hectare lot to SM Prime Holdings Inc. worth P2.7 billion, three years after the negotiations started.
SM Prime said that by 2012, the SRP will be home to the biggest shopping mall in the Visayas and Mindanao with a gross floor area of 25 hectares.
The company will invest at least P20 billion for a mixed-use development project facing the sea, which will include a convention center, hotels, residential condominiums, a school and a hospital.
The first structure to rise will be the shopping mall.
The construction of a hotel with a minimum floor area of 60,000 square meters and the convention center with a minimum floor area of 20,000 square meters will follow.
Of the 240 hectares of reclaimed land in the SRP, only around 150 hectares are left, which includes the roads and service areas.
The City sold a 10.6-hectare lot to FLI last year and entered into a joint venture agreement to develop an additional 40 hectares.
A three-hectare area is being leased to Bigfoot for 20 years.
Properties were also donated to the University of the Philippines (5.17 hectares), the Department of Public Works and Highways (4.8 hectares) and the Department of Health (two hectares).