IN HIS State of the City Address (Soca) last Saturday, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama vowed to solve the issue involving residents in 93-1 lots before his second term ends.
“As I have committed with Gov. Junjun (Hilario) Davide III, before our term will end, we must have a closure and give reprieve to those who have been troubled of their tenurial rights, and that is 93-1. We will finish and we will solve it because we love you,” he said.
The mayor said the City Government now has a P500-million budget for the acquisition of Province-owned lots covered under Ordinance 93-1.
These lots are located in Barangays Apas, Lahug, Busay, Kamputhaw, Capitol Site, Kalunasan, Lorega, Mabolo and Tejero, all in Cebu City.
Of the P500 million, P400 million has been set aside under the City’s P13.4-billion annual budget this year. The remaining amount is covered by the annual budget from last year.
Rama, in an interview before his Soca, said he will meet with the governor soon.
Asked if there are schemes on how the residents will pay the lots, the mayor said it will soon be discussed.
“We don’t have to talk about it now yet. What is important is the money is there. There is already so much money for it,” he said.
Ordinance 93-1, which was passed by the Provincial Board (PB) in 1993, allows Cebu City residents to own the Province-owned lots they are occupying after paying in full the amortization on the property in two years.
A 10-year extension was given to 93-1 occupants, but the period lapsed in 2004. Less than half of the nearly 5,000 Cebu City residents occupying 93-1 lots have paid the amortization on the land in full.
The plight of the lot occupants resulted in a proposed land swap in 2006 between Capitol and City Hall, but talks bogged down.
Rama said the agreement between him and Davide will be sent to the council and the PB for approval.
Rama said he is optimistic the problem will be addressed.
“Basta way mobabag, way yawa. Yawa ra may makababag. Pero tangtanga ang yawa, ang Ginoo maoy magpatigbabaw (If the devil doesn’t get in the way, the problem will be solved),” he said.
Rama’s second term will end in July 1 next year. He is seeking reelection next year.
Meanwhile, former mayor and south district congressman Tomas Osmeña said the sale of South Road Properties (SRP) to fund the city’s
operations is not sustainable.
“We Cebuanos should be thankful that there is an SRP. If the SRP weren’t there, we wouldn’t have anything to sell to save us from the financial mess the current administration put us in. But this pattern is not sustainable,” he said.
“If this doesn’t stop, there will eventually be no more SRP left to sell. The SRP is a mango tree that we planted 20 years ago not for ourselves but so our children and grandchildren can enjoy its fruit. If we chop down the tree now, yes we can sell the wood but we will lose its fruits forever,” he said.
Rama said in his Soca at the Plaza Independencia that the sale of SRP lots is his best gift to the Cebuanos.
He thanked members of the council for authorizing him to sell a 45.2-hectare SRP lot, which has a total bid price of P16.76 billion.
He also thanked Osmeña and former city mayor Alvin Garcia for the realization of SRP.
Aside from tackling SRP and the 93-1, the mayor reported in his Soca his accomplishments since 2010.
In the area of social services, he said, the City is making lives better.
A total of P709.35 million has been given as financial assistance to 59,113 senior citizens in the city; P46.89 million for 9,379 person-with-disabilities; P86.71 million for hospitalization assistance and medicines of 3,443 individuals; andP44.85 for 4,485 beneficiaries of burial assistance.
The City has also given 210 land titles to the landless and supplied electricity to 7,199 people.
In the area of environment, the City has completely closed the Inayawan Sanitary last January, continued its coastal cleanup and created composting centers in 53 barangays.
The City has also distributed 60,000 forest trees, 60,000 fruit trees, 20,000 assorted plants and 120,300 seedlings to the barangays.
In education, the City has provided P286 million to 13,015 scholars, constructed 86 classrooms and emergency exits in 39 schools, provided summer jobs to 1,789 students, and relocated the Sapangdaku Elementary School.
In development, the City has provided job fairs to 9,775 job applicants. The first phase of the construction of the new Cebu City Medical Center has also been bid out.
In business, the City promotes innovative way to support trade and commerce and improved relationship with taxpayers.
For infrastructure, the City has completed P15-million worth of road concreting projects for 2014 and 2015.
In governance, the City has been implementing its people-privately driven governance. They have also established City Hall sa Bukid and implemented City Hall at Your Doorstep Program.
Rama’s Soca was attended by at least 30,000 people.