IN HER third term in office, Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said she will pursue the development of the P98-million Balili property.
From the original 24.7 hectares, the province will develop a total of 27.2 hectares after the family of Carmen Mayor Gerard Villamor donated to Capitol a 2.5-hectare property contiguous to the Balili property, which became controversial after
questions were raised since portions of the property are submerged or covered with mangroves.
Deed of donation
The governor mentioned the development plan in her speech yesterday after the signing of the deed of donation at the Capitol Social Hall.
She also signed the memorandum of agreements for the Department of Science and Technology Mobile Information and Technology Classroom and a Technical Education and Skills Development Authority training center.
In three years
She said she will pursue the Balili property development plan in line with the industrial development of the City of Naga and wants it accomplished in the next three years.
City of Naga Vice Mayor Delfin Señor and some of his councilors attended during the activity yesterday.
Villamor said the family-owned property in Barangay Tinaan can enhance the value of the Balili property because it is located between the pier and the Capitol lot.
"It is of lesser value to us and valuable to the Province. Pinakapinangga mi nga lungsod (We are the most favored town) so
we try to reciprocate," Villamor told Capitol reporters yesterday.
He also clarified the governor did not request the family to donate the property, but admitted that when they first heard the Provincial Government purchased the Balili lot, they thought of selling their property to Capitol.
However, their family decided to donate it as a sign of support to the governor, especially since the purchase of the Balili property is under investigation.
"The governor did not ask. It's voluntary," he said, adding there are no conditions to the donation.
The mayor’s mother, Corazon Teves-Villamor, is the heiress of the property and the original title was in the name of Pilar Teves, the mayor's grandmother. Villamor said the property is also too far from their town.
"Carmen man mi. I think I've visited the lot, ka-usa ra (only once). Ako Mama, never, maybe wa siguro," Villamor added.
Capitol spokesperson Rory Jon Sepulveda, in a press conference, said the Capitol filed for the Environmental Compliance
Certificate and is waiting for a clearance before starting any work on the property.
He said the development of the industrial estate will start within the third or fourth quarter of this year.
The fishponds will be abandoned and filled up, he added.
He also said the Capitol would welcome any donations, just like what the Villamors have done.
In September last year, the governor, in a meeting with the Cebu media, said she has a list of projects that will develop the Balili property into a reclaimed land, a pier, a waste-to-energy facility for a number of towns and an eco-park.
She also said the Capitol will pursue the development "in an advanced and environmentally safe manner."