Capitol mulls ‘direct deal’ with 93-1 occupants instead
CEBU CITY, Philippines – The Cebu Provincial Government is considering holding direct talks with occupants of properties covered by the 93-1 land swap deal.
The Capitol’s pronouncements came after the Cebu City Government recently expressed hesitation in proceeding by pointing out that the cost of the properties was “too high.”
Michelle Languido, acting Provincial Assessor, said they were “surprised” to learn that Cebu City Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia seemed to backtrack on their decision to use the zonal values from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) in order for the decades-long land swap arrangement to push through.
“It surprised us that the vice mayor made that statement because we were already close to coming up with a common value that is acceptable to both parties,” Languido said in a statement.
The Capitol executive also pointed out that it was the city government that suggested using zonal values from the BIR as the basis for the computation.
“For the record, in case the vice mayor was not informed, the city assessor and myself have already come up with a common value that we are supposed to present for the final discussion of the members of both appraisal committees,” said Languido.
On the other hand, Languido expressed dismay at the possibility that the city government may not to proceed with their earlier agreement.
“It is quite unfair to the provincial government, especially to the governor who agreed to their request to use the BIR values, which in effect lowered our values paving favor to the city government,” she said.
“Quite unfair to us also who are working to make this land swap deal materialize because we take this seriously, it is not a joke spending sleepless nights just to reconcile the values,” she added.
As a result, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia is now mulling to deal directly with occupants of the properties covered by the 93-1 land swap deal, said Languido.
“Mas malipay ug mas mahayagan ang beneficiaries,” she said.
In 2018, the previous administrations of the Capitol and city government entered into a MOA to proceed with the 93-1 land swap deal; however, COA, in 2019, flagged the deal, saying it was not coursed through their commission.
State auditors also pointed out that the disposal of government-owned real estate must have prior approval from COA.
Under the terms of the terminated MOA, the province will transfer to the city government ownership of the contested residential lots as well as a 1.5-hectare lot inside the Department of Agriculture (DA) compound in Barangay Guadalupe, a 2,358-square-meter property along Gorordo Avenue in Barangay Lahug, and a portion of a property in Barangay Capitol Site.
In exchange, Cebu City will give to the provincial government at least 2.5 hectares in the South Road Properties (SRP), the abattoir, the city’s septage treatment plant at the North Reclamation Area, a portion of Block 27, and the city-owned property in Barangay Pulpogan in Consolacion town.
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