Team Rama dads to support projects after careful scrutiny
P18B UNSOLICITED PROPOSAL
It will take more than “mesmerizing” figures to convince Barug Team Rama councilors on the P18-billion unsolicited proposal of a giant firm to develop the Kawit property in the South Road Properties (SRP).
In a press conference on Friday, Councilor Jocelyn Pesquera pointed out that previous lease agreements and joint ventures entered into by the city with some investors in the SRP have not been fully realized until now.
For one, she pointed out that the 25-year lease agreement between the city and Bigfoot Entertainment Corp., which was done during the previous term of Mayor Tomas Osmeña, but until now, their property in the SRP has not yet been developed.
Pesquera also cited the the joint venture agreement of the city with Filinvest Land Inc. for the City di Mare condominiums in the SRP, which she claimed had not produced jobs for Cebuanos.
CDN tried calling a Filinvest Land Inc. official, but the official could not be reached for comment.
“We have been supporting the programs of the mayor. But based on what we experienced, we have to scrutinize everything. We should not be automatically mesmerized by the figures, and then nothing trickles down to the people,” she said.
Pesquera added that the P18-billion proposal of JG Summit Holdings Inc. to develop the Kawit property is not the exact amount that will go to the City Hall’s coffers.
Mayor Osmeña earlier announced the proposal of the developer which would include a 50-year lease of the eight-hectare Kawit property. Among the structures to be developed in the area would be a hotel, a convention center, a restaurant and a casino among others.
For his part, Councilor Joel Garganera defended the opposition bloc of the City Council, saying they had not been obstructionists to the plans and programs of the mayor that they deemed as beneficial to the people.
“We approved his flagship projects. Even if we had the numbers before, we always choose things that are for the good of the city,” Garganera said.
Councilor Pastor Alcover Jr. said that he would support the proposal for developments in the city but that it should be done after careful scrutiny.
Aside from this, the councilors also pointed out that the proposal needs to be viewed while taking into consideration the existing government-owned structures in the Kawit property that would have to be demolished to give way for the development.
These structures include the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) building, the Sugbo building and the Senior Citizens building.
The mayor earlier said though that JG Summit would shoulder the transfer of buildings, although he only specified the Senior Citizens building which had been planned to be transferred beside the Senior Citizens Park near City Hall.
However, Councilor Pesquera recalled that sometime between 2004 to 2007, the city also had a similar agreement with Robinsons Galleria for the city-owned Block 10 property where the new mall stands now.
She said that in that area, there used to be buildings for the city’s Department of Public Services (DPS), Department of Engineering and Public Works (DEPW) and a police office.
She said that Osmeña, who was the mayor back then, promised to construct a new building for these offices, but until now, the DEPW is still renting at the Yutivo building across City Hall.
“But until now, we still don’t have these buildings. Payment for the lot and the structure may have already been all used up for the payment of rents,” Pesquera said.
Sought for comment, Mayor Osmeña assured that he would give the City Council a copy of the terms of reference (TOR) for the JG Summit proposal.
He said that when then mayor Michael Rama sold the SRP lots in 2015, the terms of reference of the sale was never given to the City Council.
“Everything (we will give it to them). We are not like Team Rama. Who are they to lecture that they are holier than thou?” he said.
The mayor said that Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella did not bother to push for the council’s getting a copy of the TOR of the SRP lot sale, making him also liable for the “illegal transaction.”
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