Cebu News

Dizon on 93-1 issue: “Mayor is politicking”

May B. Miasco/RHM - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Cebu City Councilor Alvin Dizon has criticized the present administration headed by Mayor Michael Rama for its earlier pronouncements on the settlement of the 93-1 lots issue between the city and the provincial governments.

In a privilege speech during their legislative session yesterday, Dizon said City Hall officials should also involve the occupants in the negotiation process and not use the issue for political propaganda.

Dizon is the City Council committee on housing chairman.

Acting on his pronouncements, City Council yesterday decided to endorse three of its members and two representatives from any of the homeowners’ associations to be part of the Technical Working Group of the 93-1 negotiating committee.

“It is condemnable for some City Hall officials to trick all of us into believing that they are for the welfare of the 93-1 settlers but in truth and in fact, they are using this issue to advance their selfish political interests,” said Dizon, who belongs to Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan.

Dizon said that shortly before the 2013 elections, Rama, who ran against former mayor Tomas Osmeña, announced that the dispute had been settled with the province under former governor Gwendolyn Garcia.

“But there was no real deal at all and it turned out that it was merely political propaganda,” he said.

And now that the next elections is drawing near, Dizon said, Rama “boasted” that the issue would be resolved soon with the proposed signing of a memorandum of agreement between City Hall and the Capitol.

“(However,) there has been no settlement yet since there is no concurrence by the legislative bodies of the two local governments,” said Dizon.

“All these false pronouncements only give us the real score of where this administration is truly rooted:  For the interest of the poor or the interest of patronage politics?” he said.

Approved in 1993, Provincial Ordinance 93-1 provided a scheme for residents to pay monthly amortizations for them to own the property they are occupying. However, the period for payment expired with many of the settlers still owing the province, prompting then governor Garcia to issue eviction notices.

The 51 hectares covered by PO 93-1 are subdivided to at least 4,364 home lots in the Cebu City barangays of Kamputhaw, Capitol Site, Kalunasan, Busay, Luz, Lahug, Mabolo, Apas, Lorega-San Miguel, Kasambagan, and Tejero.

Of the 4,364 occupants, only 1,445 have fully paid despite the 10-year extension set by Capitol for payments. The problem is compounded by new homeowners claiming that they were also beneficiaries.  

Intervening for the residents, then Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña proposed to Garcia in 2007 to swap properties with the province and crafted an agreement, which was then presented to the City Council for approval.

The agreement, however, fell through after then vice mayor Rama, now the city mayor, raised some concerns regarding the terms of the land swap deal.  Rama later averred that he just wanted to perform his duty as a prudent public official, believing that the deal was disadvantageous to the city government.

The resulting exchange of words in public caused Osmeña and Garcia’s relationship to turn sour, which remains up to this day.

Last August 2012, the City Council approved a resolution authorizing Rama to revive the land swap negotiations and to enter into a Memorandum of Exchange of Real Properties with the province, with the city offering its Block 27 property at the North Reclamation Area for the 93-1 lots.

“(However,) the resolution of the city council was ignored and unacted (upon),” Dizon said. – (FREEMAN)

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