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Sunday, August 01, 2021

Sale of SRP lots, assistance to police, more elderly aid

SELLING parts of the South Road Properties (SRP) to generate revenues and stop the “hemorrhage” of City Hall funds for debt payments, and supporting the local police were among the promises that Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama made when he ran for a second term in 2013.

He also pledged to increase the financial assistance to senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs) and improve the upland barangays.

In the last three years, he fulfilled these promises.

But there are also programs and projects that he intended to implement but failed to do so, such as the rehabilitation of the city’s traffic signal system, the resolution of the 93-1 problem, and the construction of a hospital in Barangay Bonbon for the mountain barangays.

The mayor said there are reasons the projects have yet to be implemented.

For the SRP, the City was able to sell in July last year a 26-hectare lot to the consortium of Ayala Land-Cebu Holdings Inc. and SM Prime Holdings, and a 19.2-hectare lot to Filinvest Land Inc.

The lots were sold for P16.76-billion, with the City Government earning half of it, or more than P8 billion, just a month after they were bid out.

These transactions were described by Rama as one of his biggest accomplishments in his second term.

While he was able to sell a portion of the SRP, though, Rama’s plan to make the City debt-free by paying off the remaining loan balance for the development of the 330-hectare property at P2.6 billion is yet to be achieved.

This is due to the differences on the stand of the executive department and the members of the legislative body.

The budget for the pre-payment of the loan is already included in the revised P9.8-billion annual budget of the City, which is still pending in the Council.

For the senior citizens’ and PWD’s cash assistance, Rama kept his promise to increase it.

From P7,000, the City raised the cash assistance of more than 60,000 senior citizens to P10,000 in 2013. By 2014, it was increased to P12,000.

The financial assistance for the more than 10,000 PWDs in the city was also increased from P3,000 to P5,000 during Rama’s second term.

As for the support to the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO), Rama increased the monthly allowance of the policemen from P2,000 in 2013 to P4,000 in 2014.

In 2014, the City also gave CCPO 14 Toyota Vios patrol cars worth P14 million to help them respond to alarms.

Early this month, the City also bought 28 Toyota Fortuner and Mitsubishi Adventure patrol cars for CCPO. It cost P33.4 million.

For the mountain barangays, the City opened a City Hall sa Bukid in Barangay Taptap to make City Hall service more accessible to the people.

The City also repaired around 150 kilometers of road in the mountain barangays.

As for solving the problem on Province-owned lots, Rama said the City already laid down its offer to the Cebu Provincial Government, which include the acquisition of all 93-1 lots for P500 million.

The City appropriated funds for it, he said, so it’s now up to Capitol to act on it.

In an interview, Rama said he actually doesn’t make promises.

“I just make a list that these are the things that are in the offing and that have to be acted upon,” he said.

For those that were not implemented yet, Rama said he will continue to pursue them when he gets reelected.

Rama will again face former mayor Tomas Osmeña in today’s election.
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