Cebu City Council wants other lots for land-swap deals

Posted on December 4, 2012

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THE Cebu City Council called on the executive department to identify other city-owned lots for disposal to preserve Block 27 of the North Reclamation Area and the Lahug lot.

In yesterday’s budget hearing, Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young said Block 27 and the Lahug lot should be preserved for the city government’s future lot swap deals with the Capitol and other private land owners.

The council dominated by the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK) bloc is pursuing a lot swap deal with the Capitol which is negotiating with occupants of its lots under the Provincial Ordinance 93-1.

Young said swapping the Lahug lot with the lot occupied by the Banawa Elementary School was opposed by the Parent Teachers Community Association (PTCA) there.

Rep. Tomas Osmeña of Cebu City’s south district identified the Lahug lot for swapping with the school lot that’s owned by the Gochan family.

If sold at P20,000 per sq. meter, the 33, 737 sq. meter Block 27 is expected to earn the city P674.7 million.

The 2,357 sq. meter Lahug lot is worth P58.9 million if sold at P25,000 per sq. meter.

Hold off

City Administrator Jose Marie Poblete told the council that the Capitol already announced it would “hold off” the planned swap since it’s negotiating with the 93-1 lot occupants.

“There are also other solutions to settle the issue. Options include a lot swap or outright purchase of the property and everything will still go through the council anyway,” Poblete said.

Concerned

Young said the Ordinance 93-1 lot problem is far from over.

He said some homeowners told him they were forced into an agreement with Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia to purchase the lot they occupy at new rates.

“And they were forced to sign the MOA (on threats of eviction and) in the absence of a lawyer. That contract is null and void,” the vice mayor said.

He said it’s impossible for urban poor occupants to pay the amortization of their lots, some of which were pegged to cost P20, 000 per sq. meter.

The council is concerned with the P1 billion estimate revenue from the city’s share of its joint venture agreement with Filinvest Land Inc. which the executive department identified among the fund sources for next year’s P6.7 billion annual budget.

Poblete told the council based their projection on Filinvest’s commitment to pay P600 million this year with a little adjustment.

But when asked by Councilor Augustus Pe Jr. if he could guarantee collection of the P1 billion revenue, Poblete said he cannot.

“What I can guarantee is that the city will make sure to collect the amount,” he said. /Doris C. Bongcac, Chief of Reporters

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