Vice mayor: Unite behind SRP project
Cebu City Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella yesterday got down from the presiding officer’s platform to deliver a privilege speech appealing to City Councilors to unite behind the proposed establishment of a Japanese retirement facility in the South Roads Property (SRP).
Yielding the gavel to Councilor Nestor Archival, the vice mayor asked his colleagues in the local legislature to approve the project’s terms of reference and allow the executive department to proceed with negotiations with the Japanese investor.
“If we do not entertain this possibility of establishing Cebu City’s first international retirement facility, someone else will, some other city, some other province, some other private sector,” he said.
The business proposal is estimated to bring in P32 billion in revenues, according to city officials.
Labella appealed to councilors allied with the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK) to set aside “partisan posturing.”
“It is no secret that we are two families in one house now. But we have a common mission here. In a broad sense, that mission is to advance the city’s development,” said Labella.
Labella said the city government also needs the money it will earn from the retirement facility to fund drainage improvement projects and delivery of basic services.
An executive session is set on Feb. 19 to thresh out the matter.
Responding to his privilege speech, BO-PK allied councilors told Labella they support the plan in principle.
Councilor Margot Osmeña said there was a need to clarify how much of the P32 billion in projected revenues would go to the city’s coffers.
“Don’t worry. We have an open mind,” she said.
Councilor Alvin Dizon asked Labella to give them “the benefit of the doubt.”
“We work with our mandate and each of us is accountable. Don’t put political color in questions we make during discussions. It is not because of politics. My appeal to the vice mayor and the executive department is to give us the benefit of the doubt because we work within our mandate,” he said.
Councilor Hans Abella, an administration ally, welcomed the views of the BO-PK members.
He said that he is looking forward to attending the executive session on Feb. 19.
Last week, Councilor Gerry Carillo suggested holding an executive session on the matter.
“I never doubted the objectivity, independence and the accountability of the council,” Labella said.
Officials of ILand Co. Japan led by its president Kazuhito Matzuda presented highlights of the the proposed facility to city officials last week.
Labella said that Cebu City was chosen because of the hospitality, professionalism of its people.
It is also cheaper to care for elderly Japanese nationals if they are brought to a facility here rather than let them stay in a retirement facility in Japan and make their young nationals pay for it.
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