Cebu City, province sign MOA to resolve 93-1 land swap
Albeit late, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña and Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III have finally resolved the long-standing 93-1 lot dispute.
The two officials signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the land swap yesterday afternoon in front of hundreds of beneficiaries of the province-owned lots located within the city.
But Osmeña said the fight is not yet over.
“It’s not yet over. Kinahanglan pa ni og approval sa City Council. Di ko kahatag assurance nga mosugot sila. Pero mensahe nako sa sakop sa Team Rama sa konseho, og ilang balibaran ang land swap, magporma ko og recall for a special election. We will remove them from City Hall,” he said in his speech.
(We still need approval from the City Council. I can’t give an assurance that they will agree to this. But my message to the Team Rama councilors is that if they reject the land swap, I will call for a special election.)
For his part, Davide said that since he became governor in 2013, it has been part of his plan to resolve the issue.
He apologized for the delay in the signing of the MOA but assured the beneficiaries that he will remain committed to completely resolve the matter.
Provincial Administrator Mark Tolentino and Osmeña’s Executive Assistant Bimbo Fernandez were witnesses to the signing of the MOA.
Emily Malto of Barangay Apas, president of the 93-1 Movement, said that while they’re happy with the MOA signing, they are still apprehensive over its approval.
She said they will continue to lobby with the City Council and even visit each one of the city councilors to ask them to approve the proposed MOA.
“Murag tunga-tunga pa among kalipay ron kay kailangan pa man ni moadto sa council. Kung ang council, naa ilang kasing-kasing namo, mas labaw nga mapasalamaton kaayo mi (We’re still half-happy because this still has to go through the council. If the council’s heart is with us, we will be really thankful),” she told reporters.
Malto said out of around 5,000 settlers of the 93-1 lots, only around 2,000 have fully paid their properties.
If the MOA is eventually approved and implemented, she said those who have yet to complete their payment will now have to pay to the city.
They are requesting that they pay the city directly instead of passing through housing agencies or financial institutions.
So far, no negotiations have been made regarding the price of the lots.
“Gusto unta namo nga mao ra gihapon ang presyo. Pero lahi naman ang presyo karon. Pero ang amo lang, kung mo-increase man, not so much. Kanang affordable gyud sa mga urban poor kay under man na sa socialized housing nga price,” she added.
(We would have wanted the original price for the lots. But the price is now different. We just hope that they won’t raise it too much so that it would still be affordable for the urban poor.)
Under the MOA, the city will give a portion of the Block 27, the abattoir and the city’s Septage Treatment Plant at the North Reclamation Area, a 2.5-hectare lot in the South Road Properties (SRP) and the city-owned property in Barangay Pulpogan in Consolacion town in exchange for the province-owned lots located in 11 different barangays in the city.
The province will also give to the city the 1.5-hectare lot located in the Department of Agriculture (DA) compound in Barangay Guadalupe, a portion of the province’s property in Barangay Lahug and another property in Barangay Capitol Site.
In his press conference prior to the signing of the MOA, Mayor Osmeña said they plan to use 5,000 square meters of the DA property to build high-density multistory buildings to house some 93-1 beneficiaries who were not made a part of the MOA.
The remaining one-hectare area will be used for a new public school for the Guadalupe area.
And although he said it will be the discretion of the province how they will use the 2.5-hectare SRP lot, Osmeña said the province cannot build structures like power plants and other developments that create pollution, or motels or container parks that can make the area look undesirable or downgrade its value.
Under the agreement, the city will initiate, within 30 days, the settlement of the civil case it filed against the provincial government involving the property inside the DA compound.
Within 60 days after the signing of the agreement, the Cebu City government would turn over to the province the seven-hectare Cebu City Zoo.
“Magtinabangay lang gud ta (Let’s help each other),” Davide said. “We want to help the city. The city also wants to help us, so this is really for the mutual benefit of the city and province,” he added.
Cebu City Councilor Jose Daluz III said that while they are supportive in helping the beneficiaries resolve the issue, they also have to make sure that the city won’t be at a disadvantage in the deal.
Daluz, who heads the committee on social services and housing, said they will not decide on the MOA with haste but rather, make a thorough review of the agreement. The council is expected to discuss the MOA during its regular session next week.
“This is a long process because we have to meet with all the beneficiaries and we have to formulate general rules so that there will be no surprises later on,” he said.
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