‘Land swap deal benefits province’
BOTH Cebu City Hall and Capitol officials refuted the claims of former governor Pablo Garcia that the land swap deal they recently entered into was “illegal” and “grossly disadvantageous” to the province.
In separate statements, Francisco “Bimbo” Fernandez and Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III said the deal is both legal and financially beneficial to the provincial government.
Fernandez, executive assistant to Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, said they welcomed the Provincial Board’s (PB) decision to reject the elder Garcia’s request to reconsider authorizing Davide to enter into a land swap deal with the city.
In a previous press, Garcia said the agreement is “grossly disadvantageous” to the province since it would require the province to swap 32.4 hectares of its own properties for 16.42 hectares of land owned by the city.
Fernandez said the city sold some of its properties to Filinvest and SM during his tenure as city administrator and none of those transactions were questioned then.
“It (the sale) was approved by COA (Commission on Audit). If we didn’t have the authority then COA could have rejected that,” he said. The province has a lot of properties but these are already squatted on, Fernandez said.
Fernandez said the properties being exchanged by the city for the province-owned lots covered under Provincial Ordinance 93-1 have high commercial value.
“We have two hectares of SRP (South Road Properties). How much is the value of that now? Based on my estimates, P100,000 per square meter, so that would make P2 billion and that is beside SM. We will give them the abattoir, Block 27 and so on,” he said.
Governor Davide told reporters that Garcia merely wanted to sabotage the land swap deal since he didn’t want his administration to succeed.
“Maybe Pabling forgot that the 32 hectares of province-owned lots were scattered all over the 11 barangays and it’s not a continuous land,” Davide said.
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