Rama seeks P200 million for urban poor, housing

Posted on October 27, 2012


Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama set down P200 million for housing needs of the city’s urban poor in his proposed 2013 annual budget.

Half of the amount would be a “standby fund” to help occupants of province-owned lots covered by Ordinance 93-1 acquire their land from the Capitol.

Another P50 million will be for the development of existing socialized housing sites and P50-million more for acquisition of new sites.

“This P100 million goodwill fund is to show that in silence we are working to address the concerns of the 93-1 occupants,” said Rama.

He said the money may be used as a goodwill deposit for the downpayment of 93-1 lot occupants.

A new price schedule for the land has been negotiated between the Cebu provincial government and 93-1 ordinance beneficiaries.

Rama said making the fund available was his way of telling Vice President Jejomar Binay that the city administration is “serious” in addressing the matter.

Gov. Gwen Garcia has renegotiated with 93-1 occupants to set new lot prices under the supervision of Binay and government housing agencies.

Rama said that Cebu city government was only waiting for the outcome of the talks to see if the city s intervenion was needed.

“They have to fast tract the approval of ongoing negotiations. I hope that at the end of the day that issue (on 93-1) will already be put to rest,” he said.

The mayor said he didn’t want his administration to be accused of failing to address the long-running issue invovling some 5,000 urban poor families.

The P100 million outlay will be added to an earlier approved P50 million goodwill fund in the 2012 budget that remained unused but will be carried over to the next year.

Binay heads the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) which overseas the government’s socialized housing programs through the Community Mortgage Program, the Pag-ibig Fund and the Socialized Housing Finance Corporation.

As this developed, Rama hit back at Rep. Tomas Osmena of Cebu City’s south district who frowned on the mayor’s plan to dispose of Bllock 27 in the North Reclamation Area and a parcel of land near the Waterfront Hotel in Lahug.

Is he (Osmeña) talking as the mayor? He should put himself in the proper position. This is now my administration,” Rama said. The P700 million value of both lots was identified as a fund source for the mayor’s proposed P6.7 billion budget for 2013.

Osmeña said in an earlier interview that Block 27 was already committed for a proposed swap with 93-1 lots while the Lahug property is set aside for proposed swap with a Gochan property now occupied by the Banawa Elementary School and urban poor residents of sitio Laguna in barangay Lorega.

Barangay assistance

Meanwhile, barangay officials in Cebu City received their 3rd quarter financial assistance yesterday.
Barangay captains were entitled P5,000 monthly assistance, while barangay councilors were given P3,000 per month. Barangay secretaries are entitled P2,000 per month.

The distribution which was held at the fourth floor social hall of the city hall legislative building was done two-days ahead of Rama’s 58th birthday celebration on Sunday.

After receiving their cash aid, barangay officials sang a birthday song to Mayor Rama who dropped by the social hall to personally oversee the distribution.

Basak San Nicolas barangay captain George Rama said that barangay officials deserve to receive a bigger assistance from the city because they are in the frontlines in the delivery of basic services.

He would have wanted the assistance doubled but blamed the City Council dominated by the local opposition Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan for disapproving the increase. /Doris C. Bongcac, Chief of Reporters

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