Typhoon delays negotiations for 93-1 land swap deal
CEBU CITY, Philippines—Super Typhoon Odette (International name: Rai) and the rehabilitation efforts after the storm significantly affected the negotiations for the 93-1 land swap deal between the Cebu City government and the Cebu Provincial government.
Cebu City Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia, who leads the negotiations in behalf of the city, told CDN Digital that the typhoon has offset the target for the 93-1 deal.
The councilor had promised for the negotiations to be completed by December 2021, but the super typhoon caused massive damages in the city.
“Unsaon man nga pag December 16, we experienced the worst typhoon. We had to focus our energy on rehabilitation efforts. So, the 93-1 had to take a back seat,” said Garcia.
The councilor said that he has met with Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama to discuss the mayor’s direction with the negotiations.
He was given the order to continue the negotiations, but for now, he cannot say how long the negotiations will take.
However, he assured that the negotiations will continue on in the next weeks and months so that the swap will finally be finalized.
“There were a lot of supervening events such as the death of Mayor (Edgardo) Labella and the typhoon. I hope makasabot lang atong mga beneficiaries nga wala ta ni gilangay. We will make a resolution aroj masulbad na gyod ni once and for all,” said the councilor.
At least 5,000 families are affected by the land swap deal.
The landswap was renegotiated because the signed deal of the previous administration of former Mayor Tomas Osmeña and former governor now Vice Governor Hilario Davide, III, was flagged by the Commission on Audit (COA).
Garcia said the ongoing negotiations will not affect other projects such as the planned water treatment facility at the North Reclamation Area (NRA) by the Metropolitan Water District (MCWD).
The City Council majority and minority floors argued over the use of the lot as it is part of the land swap deal.
The minority floor, especially Councilor Eugenio Gabuya, Jr., said that the city cannot allow the use of the property because of the landswap.
However, Garcia assured that the as long as the title of the property is with the city government, the city has the right to approve the use for a sewage treatment facility.
“We need that treatment facility. The title of the property is still with the city government so it is our discretion how to use it,” he said.
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