DETERMINED TOMAS

By Morexette Marie B. Erram June 12,2018

Despite criticisms, Osmeña firm about building skate park, sports hub at controversial SRP lot

Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña is still determined to build a skate park and a one-stop sports hub in the controversial 26-hectare lot at the South Road Properties (SRP) despite criticisms from the opposition Barug Team Rama-PDP Laban party.

In a press conference last Monday, June 11, 2018, Osmeña slammed opposition councilors Joel Garganera and Jose Daluz III, who urged the mayor to find another location for the skate park and the sports hub.

Although both recognized the need for a public sports facility, Garganera and Daluz asked the mayor to “be more sincere” in his plans and not drag sports enthusiasts to rally for a sports hub in the property that they say was purchased by SM Prime Holdings, Inc. (SM), and Ayala Land, Inc. (ALI), as a consortium in 2015. The group won the bid for the 26-hectare Lot No. 8-B-1 at SRP with a bid of P10 billion.

But Osmeña had been asserting his claims that the sale between Ayala and SM and the Cebu City government, which was headed by his archrival and former Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, was illegal.

He said the absence of an approval from the Commission on Audit (COA) to dispose the city-owned lots, and a copy of the deed of sale, suffice as grounds to make the transaction illegal.

“There were a total of nine defects on the property and the transaction. Even the council doesn’t have the deed of sale. (Rama) does not have the title and if I give the title, I will be sued,” said Osmeña.

During an executive session last May 8, representatives from the Ayala-SM consortium were summoned by the council and were requested to provide them a copy of the deed of sale. The group’s lawyers were able to provide a soft copy of the deed of sale but the council was not satisfied and asked for a hard copy. At press time, there are no updates yet to whether they were able to provide one.

It can be recalled that Osmeña, in September 2017, requested for COA’s opinion to determine whether or not the transaction was valid. But he said on Monday that they have yet to receive a response from state auditors.

“We’ll work on that later on. One step at a time,” Osmeña said.

For now, Osmeña is sticking to the plan to build the skate park and the sports hub at the SRP.

“[Building the skate park at the SRP is] not questionable. It’s only questionable on [the opposition’s] minds. It’s the best area. Because you have access from Mambaling,” Osmeña said.

Osmeña’s plan to build a skate park stemmed from a post on his official Facebook page last May 31 from netizen Rauell Ygot, who suggested for a public skate park to be built in Cebu City.

Ygot came up with the idea following the impressive performance of Cebuana skateboarder Margielyn Didal in the 2018 Street League Skateboarding in London, England held last May 26 to 28, where she finished eighth.

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