THE Cebu City Government is now P3 billion richer but Mayor Tomas Osmeña doesn’t want the money to be used.
The three giant property developers who bought a combined 45.2 hectares in the South Road Properties (SRP) last year already paid their first installment.
City Treasurer Tessie Camarillo disclosed yesterday that SM Prime Holdings Inc. paid more than P1.12 billion to the City while Ayala Land-Cebu Holdings Inc. paid more than P846.6 million.
SM in consortium with Ayala bought 26 hectares in the SRP, the lot where the San Pedro Calungsod templete currently stands.
Filinvest Land Inc. (FLI), on the other hand, paid the City more than P1.32 billion. They are the buyers of 19.2 hectares.
In an interview with Sun.Star Cebu, Camarillo said that representatives of the three developers went to City Hall last Monday morning to make the payments.
The amount represents a portion of the remaining 50 percent of the entire cost that the developers are obligated to pay.
The 45.2 hectares were bought through a public bidding by the three developers for P16.76 billion in June last year.
They made a 50-percent down payment in August last year amounting to P8.35 billion. Portions of it, though, have already been used by the previous administration since the 2015 annual budget ordinance allowed the use of some P4.5 billion.
The remaining 50 percent of the P16.76 billion will be payable in three years, starting this year. It will be paid in equal annual installments with six percent interest per year.
Asked what the City will do with the money, Mayor Osmeña, in a radio interview yesterday, said it will not be used.
“It will be kept in a separate account. A trust account. We will not use it,” he said.
Camarillo said she had already deposited the money in one of the government’s authorized depository banks. “Wala nako giipon sa atong regular funds para di magamit (It wasn’t placed together with the regular funds, so the City won’t use it),” she added.
Osmeña said the City won’t use the money since he is questioning the transaction, which was closed during the time of former mayor Michael Rama.
He wants the City’s deal with the three developers revoked, saying it is “anomalous.”
The mayor has alleged that when the bidding took place, the developers behaved like a cartel and agreed among themselves on what property to buy.