CEBU - Capitol officials have no right or the power to dictate upon Cebu City what to do with the South Road Properties SRP.
Cebu City Mayor on-leave Tomas Osmeña, who is in the United States to seek treatment of his urinary bladder cancer, said this yesterday.
Osmeña issued the statement after Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia’s brother, Cebu 3rd District Rep. Pablo John Garcia, described the ongoing negotiation between the city officials and Filinvest Land Incorporated for the purchase of property at the SRP as illegal.
The congressman said that the ongoing talks could be disadvantageous to the city because the proposal of FLI for the outright purchase of 10 hectares of the SRP should be done through a competitive public bidding, and not just a mere Swiss challenge.
But Osmeña said the sale of the 10 hectares and FLI’s proposal to enter into a joint venture agreement with the city for another 40 hectares follows the policy set forth by the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA).
“The 50 hectares is one project that is indivisible and will follow a public tender process formulated by NEDA.
If the province wants to challenge it, let them stand in line with the others, if they qualify,” Osmeña said.
But according to the mayor, the city will not make adjustments just to give advantage to the province, saying “We are not going to adjust to them just like an oil company that wants to buy a portion for a gas station.”
“The province cannot direct us on what to do. We should remind them that Cebu City is not reigned by the Queen of Darkness,” Osmeña said in a text message.
However, Osmeña also believed that the provincial officials are not really serious in their intention to buy lots at the SRP for the reason that they did not include funds for such expense in the 2009 annual budget that was passed by the Provincial Board last week.
He said that he believes that many of the PB members are not in favor of buying the SRP lots and develop it, which means abandoning the implementation of projects for the province that for sure would surely irk the mayors.
“You cannot pursue without money. That’s full of hot air. They should budget it. Abandoning their towns and mayors would mean the entire Provincial Board would lose the next elections, Osmeña said.
Capitol officials said, in order for the bidding to be fair to all interested parties, the city officials should conduct a separate bidding of the outright purchase of the 10-hectare lot from the bidding on the joint venture to develop 40 hectares.
Filinvest Land Incorporated’s unsolicited proposal is to buy 10 hectares for P2 billion and to give the city a 10 per cent share of the gross income for the 40 hectares that will be subject to a joint venture agreement. – /NLQ (THE FREEMAN)