Councilor Garcia promises ‘happy Christmas’ to 93-1 affected residents
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The 93-1 land swap deal between the Cebu City government and the Cebu Provincial Capitol may finally come into fruition by the end of this year.
The land swap deal has remained unimplemented since Mayor Edgardo Labella and Governor Gwendolyn Garcia have decided to renegotiate after the Commission on Audit (COA) flagged the signed deal of their predecessors.
COA flagged the deal signed by former mayor, Tomas Osmeña, and former governor, now Vice Governor Hilario Davide, III, because it was unapproved by the state audit agency.
The land swap has been under renegotiations between the Capitol and the city government since 2019, but with the looming elections, affected residents are worried that the deal will once again be left for another administration to decide on.
Former Councilor Mary Ann Delos Santos, who is running for North District Councilor, in the 2022 elections, has questioned why there has been a delay in the negotiations of the 93-1 land swap deal.
She said that affected residents in her local village, Barangay Lahug, were anxious for the deal to be completed and implemented so they could feel secure in their own homes.
The deal affects at least 5,000 households in lots in Cebu City territory but owned by the Provincial Capitol.
“In that issue, yes it’s disappointing because many residents are waiting for that,” said Delos Santos.
In response, Councilor Raymond Garcia, the majority floor leader of the City Council and who is running as vice mayor for Barug PDP-Laban, promised that by December 2021, the affected residents would have a surprise for Christmas.
Garcia, who has been tasked to negotiate with the Capitol over the land swap, said they were nearing the end of the negotiations and should finish within their promised deadline this October 2021.
“We have already agreed on a lot of points. We have reached a middle ground. Paabuta lang, sa mga (Just wait, a little bit more, to those) 93-1 beneficiaries, they will have the best Christmas of their lives,” said Garcia.
Garcia said he was set to file in the Council an ordinance and a resolution including the ordinance detailing the distribution of land to the beneficiaries and the payment scheme and the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between Capitol and city government.
The councilor promised that the awaited 93-1 would already be a done deal by the end of the year, following all necessary processes and documentary requirements to ensure that it would be approved by the COA.
The residents will not have long to wait until they can call their homes their own.
For now, Garcia said they were smoothing out details on the deal before the City government and Capitol would ink its implementation.
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