by Doris C. Bongcac, Chief of Reporters
Not all occupants of province-owned lots covered under Provincial Ordinance 93-1 support the revived land swap deal being lobbied by the Cebu City Council.
A group of 11 homeowners association officials yesterday signed a commitment to oppose the land swap which they said will only complicate ongoing negotiations between them and Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia.
“They (Vice President Jejomar Binay and Governor Garcia) surely won’t fool us since they already signed an agreement on the lots,” said Mary Jean Guinto of the Kalunasan Langub Riverside Home Owners Association.
The Department for the Welfare of the Urban Poor (DWUP) yesterday gathered signatures from those opposing the land swap revived by the Cebu City Council recently.
During last Wednesday’s off-site session in barangay Luz, the council dominated by the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK) bloc held a public hearing on the land swap deal that was attended by homeowners groups.
Majority of them supported a resolution filed by Councilors Rodrigo Abellanosa, Nida Cabrera and Alvin Dizon authorizing Mayor Michael Rama to enter into a land swap deal with Garcia on behalf of the 93-1 lot occupants.
The deal will allow Rama to deal the city-owned block 27 at the North Reclamation Area (NRA) worth P500 million to pay the more than P100 million obligations of the occupants of the province-owned lots.
Most of the homeowner occupants said the land swap deal is the “best solution” to their problem.
But 50 occupants who went to the mayor’s office yesterday voiced their opposition to the deal.
Guinto said she received an invitation to the council’s public hearing but she opted not to go since she opposed the land swap deal.
Many other occupants of province owned lots expressed their opposition to the land swap when they had their leadership training on Saturday.
AJ Castillo of the Busay Skyview Park Home Owners Association said there are 72 home owners associations (HOA) that occupy province-owned lots.
Of that number, 43 occupy lots identified under provincial ordinance 93-1.
Ongoing negotiations with Governor Garcia also cover all other occupants of Capitol owned lots located in Cebu City.
Five homeowners groups entered into an agreement with the Capitol.
More groups from barangays Busay, Apas, Tejero, Mabolo, Kasambagan and Lorega are also scheduled to enter into MOA with the governor, Castillo said.
“We called a press conference because there are a lot of erroneous stories spread during the public hearing that confused the public. We don’t want the governor to be mad at us,” she said.
Cirilo Bugtai, a 76-year-old resident of barangay Tejero said he started to occupy the province owned lot located in the barangay since 1946.
He said the property was first sold to them at P250 per sq. meter after passage of ordinance 93-1.
With the Capitol setting a price of P11,000 per sq. meter to the lot he occupies, Bugtai said he’s convinced that the price was still low because lots in their area could now be priced at P20, 000 per sq.meters.
He said the agreement his association signed with the governor allows them to pay for the lots they occupy in a period of 30 years.
Castillo clarified claims made during last Wednesday’s council public hearing that the lot occupants only have six months to pay for their lots.
She said the six-month period is only allocated for the compliance of requirements set under the agreement.