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Cebu News

Osmeña to solve 93-1 issue quietly

Jean Marvette A. Demecillo - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - While hinting he will talk to some councilors allied with Team Rama, Cebu City mayor-elect Tomas Osmeña said he would choose to solve the prevailing 93-1 issue with the provincial government quietly.

"I'm not going to announce on how to do it, basta I will do it. There are some people who don't want to make it happen so we will not announce. Just wait. Let's do it," he said.

Even before they were elected into office anew, Osmeña and Governor Hilario Davide III signed an agreement with beneficiaries of Provincial Ordinance 93-1 to resolve the issue when they assume office on July 1.

"I'm happy that Governor Davide was proclaimed. We will get on that right away, just one step at a time," Osmeña said.

While Osmeña came out victorious over sitting mayor Michael Rama, the incoming City Council headed by Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella is composed mostly of Rama's allies whose decision on the 93-1 issue may affect Osmeña's game plan.

Sought for comment, Labella said the Council will discuss the issue as a whole.

"We will be very objective about it. We will never be an obstructionist. We will look into the matter very objectively and find out what could be the possible terms and conditions," he said.

Labella recalled an existing draft Memorandum of Understanding for the city to pay P500 million for the 51 hectares of provincial lots occupied by Cebu City residents.

The city has proposed to pay an initial P100 million to the province and pay the remaining P400 million once the certificates of title for all lots will be transferred to its name.

Cebu City will also turn over to Capitol its properties located in Consolacion, Mandaue City, and Talisay City.

Labella said the draft was a product of a series of consultative meetings with Rama, Davide, former Cebu Governor Vicente "Tingting" de la Serna, Vice Governor Agnes Magpale, the city's Department for the Welfare of the Urban Poor head Collin Rosell.

The consultations, however, was stalled after the Provincial Board decided the P500 million offer is not enough.

"It's up now for the incoming administration to look into the memorandum of understanding and for the Council to peruse and determine if it would be beneficial for the City of Cebu," Labella said.

He emphasized that the City Council will maintain its position to uphold the principle of check and balances.

"Perhaps this is the reason why the people of Cebu City purposely chose a vice mayor that does not belong to the same party with the mayor so that democracy will be exercised to its fullest. We will take heed of that mandate," Labella said.

The 51 hectares covered by Provincial Ordinance 93-1 are subdivided to at least 4,364 home lots in 11 barangays, including Kamputhaw, Capitol Site, Kalunasan, Busay, Luz, Lahug, Mabolo, Apas, Lorega, Kasambagan, and Tejero.

In 1993, Provincial Ordinance 93-1 was approved to provide a scheme for residents to pay monthly amortizations to own the property they are occupying.

However, of the 4,364 home lots, only 1,445 have been fully paid for; 1,188 have not been fully paid for; while 1,731 have not been paid for at all. — (FREEMAN)

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