Garcia forms task force for donated lots' transfer

Garcia forms task force for donated lots' transfer
cebu city’s Acting Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia talks to City Hall employees after the traditional flag-raising ceremony held at Plaza Sugbo on Monday morning, July 8, 2024.AMPER CAMPAÑA

WHILE a section of Osmeña Blvd. in downtown Cebu City will be used as part of the National Government’s pedestrianization project, the Cebu City Government is set to recover its properties currently occupied by illegal structures and being used as sidewalks or parking spaces.

Acting Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia approved on Monday, July 8, 2024, the creation of a task force that will focus on documenting the transfer of ownership of donated lots to the City Government.

City Councilor Jerry Guardo, in a phone interview on Monday, told SunStar Cebu that during their implementation of various city plans, they discovered several properties that had been donated to the City but whose ownership has yet to be legally transferred to the City.

These properties, however, have been either used as parking or occupied by illegal settlers.

“There are, in fact, lots that have no tax declaration, unnamed and some were labeled as abandoned lots, but the transfer of ownership was not executed,” said Guardo in a mix of Cebuano and English.

Task Force

Guardo said the task force includes representatives from the Office of the City Administrator, City Legal Office, City Planning and Development Office, Land Management Office, City Treasurer’s Office, Department of General Services, City Engineering Office Assessor, Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor and the committee on infrastructure.

Guardo, who also heads the City’s infrastructure committee, said these offices have a direct hold of the data of Cebu City properties.

The councilor announced after the flag-raising ceremony on Monday that the City would exert efforts to legally transfer these seized properties, including those donated lots, to the City Government.

Guardo said this measure will support the City’s plan to build high-rise buildings under the Pambansang Pabahay Para sa Pilipino Housing program once the City-owned lots are determined and legally transferred.

When asked which areas in the City are government-owned but are not yet transferred, Guardo responded, “Daghan (a lot).”

Guardo said some of these properties include those seized by the City for failure to settle tax obligations.

For instance, a private property owner on R.R. Landon St. has unpaid taxes dating back to 1980, with accumulated tax dues of P1.3 million, as of this year.

“Property nga donated na and delinquent man sad ang owner, for not paying sa tax ba. But ang problema, wala g’yud siya ma transfer sa City Government,” he said.

Guardo said the engineering department has not been able to implement city plans because of lack of proper documentation attachments.

“Sa kani nga task force (In this task force), we will make sure nga (that) we have a record that covers the transferring of ownership to the Cebu City Government,” said Guardo.

In addition, Guardo is optimistic that the engineering department can start implementing city plans.

Furthermore, Guardo said that some of the road lots owned by the City are occupied by informal settlers.

He added that these settlers will soon be relocated once the road lots are legally claimed by the City Government.

Meanwhile, under the proposed link-to-port project, the four-lane Osmeña Blvd. in the downtown area will be reduced to two lanes to increase pedestrian traffic and decrease the number of motor vehicles, aligning with the goals of the pedestrianization project. / JPS

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