Labella says SRP lot sales to cover cost of traffic system upgrade, senior citizens cash aid
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella is not only ready to make full use of the P16-billion proceeds of the stalled sale of South Road Properties (SRP) lots but already knows where to spend some of it: An upgraded and digital traffic light system for the city.
Labella told reporters on Saturday, August 17, that the release of the payments for the 45-hectare lots bought from the city by Filinvest and the SM-Ayala Consortium, which was consigned or deposited to the court, was now being processed so they could be used by the city.
The mayor said that the City Legal Office has started coordinating with Filinvest and the SM-Ayala consortium so that they two groups would process the release of their payments from the court since Labella is now willing to the payment.
The land deal was sealed in 2015 during the term of then mayor and now Vice Mayor Michael Rama. However, Mayor Tomas Osmeña, who defeated Rama in the 2016 elections, refused to honor the sale or accept the payments, prompting the two firms to deposit their payments in court instead.
Labella, who was vice mayor during the terms of Rama and Osmeña, defeated Osmeña in the May 2019 midterm polls, paving the way for the resumption of the stalled land deal.
Recently, Filinvest and the SM-Ayala Consortium wrote to the Cebu City Council to inform the city government that they have completed the P16 billion payment for the SRP lots, which they started paying in instalments since 2015.
Now with the payment of the SRP sale ready for use by the C]city, Labella said they now have enough funds to allocate the funds needed to upgrade the city’s traffic light system.
The Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO) has been asking for a traffic system update in past administrations but never got the money to do so. However, the need for a new traffic system has become urgent after 70 traffic lights in 14 intersections malfunctioned on August 14, causing a seven-hour traffic snarl in the city.
Labella said he has asked the city council to approve a P2.5 billion supplemental budget, P500 million of which would be used to convert the city’s analog traffic management system to a digital system.
At least P80 million of the supplemental budget will be allocated for the P1,000 monthly financial aid of senior citizens residing in the city, covering the months from July to December 2019.
Labella said he was grateful to outgoing City Treasurer Arlene Rentuza for cooperating with his administration and for signing the necessary documents that City Hall needed so it could accept the payment of the sale of the SRP lots.
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