Silent cries of 93-1 beneficiaries amid Cebu City’s Charter Day celebrations

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | February 24,2022 - 02:17 PM
93-1 beneficiaries hold silent protest outside City Hall today, Cebu City's charter day. |Delta Dyrecka Letigio

Beneficiaries of 93-1 land swap deal staged a silent protest during the Charter Day celebrations on February 24, 2022. | Delta Dyrecka Letigio

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The joyous celebration of the 85th Charter Day in Cebu City was marred by the silent cries of a group of residents bringing banners with the words, “Implement the 93-1 Land Swap Deal for 93-1 lots.”

The group huddled silently at the back of the crowd waiting for Mayor Michael Rama to pass after the events of the wreath-laying and speech ceremonies were conducted.

The mayor, barely speaking to them as he passed by, assured them of the ongoing negotiations of the city with the Cebu Provincial government.

Despite feeling ignored, the 93-1 beneficiaries persisted in seeking an audience with urban poor lawyer, Colin Rosell, who also serves as a consultant of the mayor, to air their appeal over the unimplemented land swap.

It must be noted that the renegotiations were conducted after the Commission on Audit flagged the Land swap deal signed by former Mayor Tomas Osmeña and former governor, now Vice Governor Hilario Davide III.

This prompted the late Mayor Edgardo Labella and Governor Gwendolyn Garcia to renegotiate the land swap deal. The mayor had died and Rama has ascended to the position, inheriting the yet-to-be-signed new agreement.

“Until now wala gihapon. Puro ra promise, promise, promise. Amoa lang gyod ma implement na intawn. Wala man gud na napresent sa amoa unsa nang mga guidelines. How can we also present our side?”, said Emily Malto from Barangay Apas of the 93-1 Movement.

(Until now, it is still not done. All they do is just promise, promise promise. What we are asking is for them to please implement it. The guidelines were not presented to us. How can we also present our side.)

“Among kabalaka lang, since 1993 hangtud karon wala pa gyod. Among gusto makasugod namig bayad. At least man gud kung naa namiy gigunitan nga documento, kampanti nami nga amoa na gyod,” said Malto.

(What we are worried about is that since 1993, there is no clear deal yet until now. What we want is that we can start paying. At least, if we have the documents in our possession, then our worries would be eased.)

Malto said that the 93-1 Land swap deal has become a political and election playground of promises for politicians both in the Province and City of Cebu.

She said they only seemed to act when the elections would draw near, and yet when they sit in power, they would lose interest in implementing the project, leaving over 5,000 households hanging.

Malto told CDN Digital that when Mayor Michael Rama talked to them as he passed, he said the city would conduct marathon consultations over the project.

“Ngano karon pa man? So short the time, hapit na ang elections. Saad kay saad aron boto mo namo pero kung makalingkod, wala na,” she added.

(Why only now? It is so short a time with the elections drawing near. Promises after promises so that we will vote for them but when they are now in power, it is then gone.)

Romulo Soroni, the Kalunasan Federation Homeowners Association chairman of the board, reminds Rama that the 5,000 households originally affected by the 93-1 land swap, has grown twice since 1993 with multigenerational families living in the lots.

This means that the longer the landswap is implemented, the more families will be affected. He appealed to the mayor to complete the deal and implement it as soon as possible.

The mayor, for his part, said that negotiations would be completed by March 25, 2022.

“Sunod nga trabahon, marathon, before March 25, kining 93-1 (What we will work on, is a marathon [consultations], before March25, this 93-1). The presence of the governor being around with us showing that there is an open relation publicly between the city government and provincial government. Right away, we will have this done with,” Rama said.

“Rest assured, the Rama-Hontiveros Administration, we will take steps so that hopefully we will reach a closure before March 25,” said the mayor.

The 93-1 beneficiaries are seeking a dialogue with the city government on February 26, 2022, in hopes the city government will hear their side.

It is not clear if the city government or a representative of Mayor Rama will be attending said meeting.

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TAGS: 85th Charter Day in Cebu City, 93-1, 93-1 beneficiaries, 93-1 residents, Cebu‬, Cebu Daily News, cebu news, Colin Rosell, land swap deal

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