Cebu City Council approves 93-1 land swap agreement

By: Izobelle T. Pulgo, Jose Santino S. Bunachita December 20,2016 - 11:48 PM
Last December 7, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña  and Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III  with Provincial Administrator  Atty. Mark Tolentino (left) and City Administrator  Bimbo Fernandez (right) signed  the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the 93.1 land deal which paved the way for the transfer of city properties to the province and vice versa. Following years of debate on the  swap, the proposal finally became a reality with the ratification of the contract by both the Provincial Board on Monday and the Cebu City Council on Tuesday. (CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

Last December 7, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña and Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III with Provincial Administrator Atty. Mark Tolentino (left) and City Administrator Bimbo Fernandez (right) signed the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the 93.1 land deal which paved the way for the transfer of city properties to the province and vice versa. Following years of debate on the swap, the proposal finally became a reality with the ratification of the contract by both the Provincial Board on Monday and the Cebu City Council on Tuesday. (CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

It will be a merry Christmas for beneficiaries of the 93-1 lot dispute.

The Cebu City Council, on mass motion, approved on Tuesday, a resolution authorizing Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña to sign the land swap deal with the provincial government in order to resolve the 93-1 lot dispute issue, albeit belatedly.

After conducting a series of consultations with the beneficiaries, the ad hoc committee on 93-1, headed by Councilor Jose Daluz III who also heads the council’s committee on housing, rendered a report recommending the approval of the land swap deal.

“Dili matukip among kalipay kay at least naa na sa syudad, among problema, ila nang masulbad. Karon, magpaabot lang mi nga ipatawag mi sa city para mahibaw-an sad nila ang among sentimento ug unsa among gusto (Our happiness is immeasurable. At least now, the solution to our problems is with the city already. We will just wait until we will be called by the city so that they can also hear our sentiments and what are the things we like),” said 93-1 Movement president Emily Malto.

She said the group will meet with officers from the different homeowners associations in the 11 barangays where the 93-1 lots are located to have a thanksgiving gathering following the approval of both the city and the province on the land swap deal.

“This land swap deal, mindful of the plight of the 93-1 beneficiaries, undertakes to extend all possible assistance and resources to help the beneficiaries of 93-1 in their sincerest desire to secure their abode through the City’s own socialized housing program,” the committee report raid.

According to Malto, out of the around 5,000 beneficiaries of the 93-1 lots, there are still more or less 3,000 beneficiaries who have either only partially paid for their lots to the Capitol or have not paid at all.

She said they also hoped that the city will credit the payments made by the beneficiaries to Capitol.

Under the MOA, signed by Mayor Osmeña and Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III last December 7, the province will give to the city 32 hectares of unsold or unpaid lots under the 93-1 ordinance being occupied by the beneficiaries.

Other lots to be given by the Capitol to the city is the 1.5 hectare lot in the Department of Agriculture compound in Barangay Guadalupe; a 2,358-square meter lot along Gorordo Ave., and another 577-square meter lot on Don Gil Garcia St. in Barangay Capitol Site.

For their part, the city will give to the province the 3.3-hectare block 27 in the North Reclamation Area (NRA), and other NRA lots where the Septage Treatment Plant (13,711 square meters) and the city’s abattoir ( 2,476 square meters) are located.

The city will also give a 2.5-hectare lot in the South Road Properties, a 9-hectare lot in Pulpogan, Consolacion and the Cebu City Zoo in Barangay Kalunasan.

The committee report however pointed out that the mayor’s act of signing the 93-1 land swap deal before the Council’s approval was not in accordance with law.

“We opine and would like to believe that his signing was an expression of his intention to concur with unofficially to the proposed memorandum of agreement and not to undermine the authority of the council nor transgress the rules. Be that as it may, this will not definitely be a precedence rather an exception and a final one,” the committee said.

Aside from Daluz, the committee report was also signed by other members including Councilors Jocelyn Pesquera, Jerry Guardo, Raymond Alvin Garcia and Phillip Zafra.

Advantageous to capitol

Meanwhile, with the Capitol set to transfer to the City a total area of 32.4 hectares of various properties, provincial legal officer Orvi Ortega explained that on the part of the province, officials just did not look at the money-for-money value of the properties involved.

Ortega explained that they also looked at the properties set to be transferred to the provincial government and their potential to be developed in comparison to the provincial properties set to be exchanged and given to the city.

“Actually, we did not compute it based on an apple to apple comparison because their monetary values are not really equal. On the part of the province, we have to take into consideration that the properties that we would receive under the land swap deal have no occupants and that their value would appreciate over the years,” Ortega said in Cebuano.

Cebu Vice Governor Agnes Magpale earlier said that she was satisfied with the deal, even though she herself had questions about it at first considering that the monetary value of the properties to be given by the province is higher by around P800 million.

“Even I had questions before because I asked the treasurer to compute the value and it seemed as it would be short of P800 million but the treasurer said that ma’am, think that although the properties are worth P800 million, that is even not sure yet because they are full of informal settlers,” Magpale said.

“These properties that we have now in exchange are ready for a public-private partnership or whatever. Yes, there is something worth P800 million, but we have to take care of relocation, in other words, it is still under dispute. I’m satisfied with the explanation,” Magpale added.

According to Ortega, with no informal settlers occupying the properties that the provincial government is set to receive from Cebu City, the province can immediately start with their development.

“And these properties, such as the one near SRP, have existing development already and the value continues to appreciate; while those that the province will give to the city still have occupants, ” Ortega pointed out.

“Di na man gyud na nimo, ingon nato mapadako pa ang value ana unya ang mga tawo naa diha. Lisud kaayo if imo pa nang I-eject. So atong tan-awon pud dihang dapita (It’s very difficult for our properties to increase in value because there are settlers there. They have to be ejected first),” he added.

Under the memorandum of agreement, entered by both local governments, the city government undertakes to provide assistance to the province by way of donating properties owned by the city for the province’s public use, purpose, welfare and for the collective advancement of the city and the province.

In addition to the property swap, the city and provincial governments also agreed to a final settlement of a civil case filed by the city against the province involving a property inside the DA compound and the turn over of the Cebu City Zoo, consisting of seven hectares, to the province.

During its last regular session on Monday, the 14th Sangguniang Panlalawigan approved the resolution granting authority to Davide to enter into the memorandum of agreement with the Cebu City government on the 93-1 land swap deal.

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TAGS: Cebu, Cebu City, deal, Hilario Davide III, land swap, Tomas Osmeña

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