During the regular session last Tuesday, Councilor Nestor Archival said the city government should not use the payment from the firms that bought 45.5 hectares of lots at the South Road Properties.
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For supplemental budget: Don’t use SRP funds - Dad
Jean Marvette A. Demecillo (The Freeman) - August 25, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  An opposition Cebu City councilor is asking the city’s executive department to look for other sources of funds to finance the proposed P2.5-billion Supplemental Budget 2.

During the regular session last Tuesday, Councilor Nestor Archival said the city government should not use the payment from the firms that bought 45.5 hectares of lots at the South Road Properties.

“Well, we’re happy to have this second supplemental budget. However, based on the documents, the budget is coming from the sale of the SRP. Considering there’s still a case, can we ask the committee to find another fund for this?” Archival said.

The executive department proposed to use P2.19 billion from the lot payment of SM Prime Holdings, Inc., P333 million from the lot payment of Cebu Holdings, Inc., and P8 million in returned financial assistance from Barangay Basak-San Nicolas.

To recall, the consortium of Ayala Land, Cebu Holdings, and SM Prime Holdings bought a 26.3-hectare property at P10.009 billion, while Filinvest Land Inc. bought a 19.2-hectare property at P6.7 billion in 2015.

During that year, the buyers made a 50-percent downpayment in August 2015 amounting to P8.35 billion. In 2016, the city used over P4 billion of that amount to fund a portion of the annual budget at the time.

Former mayor Tomas Osmeña did not utilize the rest of the money since he earlier planned to rescind the contract but only FLI yielded to his demand to rescind the contract.

The remaining P3.5 billion of the downpayment in 2015 is still unused until now.

When sought for comment, Mayor Edgardo Labella said Archival is entitled to his own opinion.

“That is his opinion. But there is no legal impediment to use the SRP money,” he said, adding that the Court of Appeals already dismissed the case of Romulo Torres who questioned the sale in 2015.

Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia said Archival can raise his queries during the budget hearing wherein key officials from the city’s Local Finance Committee can respond to the latter’s suggestions and questions.

The City Council scheduled a budget hearing ?on August 27 at 8 a.m. inviting all heads of offices to attend the hearing and discuss the proposed P2,532,973,460 budget.

Under the proposal, the bulk of the amount goes to all offices under the Office of the Mayor with proposed amount of P627 million, followed by P533.6 million for special bodies, projects, and programs, P309 million for the Cebu City Transportation Office, P136 million for the Department of Social Welfare and Services, among others.

Other proposed projects are P300 million for medical equipment for the new Cebu City Medical Center, P100 million for the first, lower and upper ground of CCMC new building, and P75 million for the construction of a wastewater treatment facility.

Under the P627 million, the Office of the Mayor proposed P57 million for lot acquisition, P100 million for site development, P150 million for opening of roads, P268 million for the construction of a medium-rise building, P25 million for the construction of city health centers, P20 million for the Barangay Water System, and P7 million for the ID card printer with consumables for the new ID system.

Under the P533.6 million for special projects, the city proposed P455 million for senior citizens, P64 million for capital outlay of different offices, P1.8 million for the SRP management, P5 million for Burial Assistance Program, P6 million for detailed engineering design and other works, and P50 million for the Office of the Prevention Restoration Order Beautification Enhancement.

Under the P309 million for Cebu City Transportation Office, the city only pushed for P250 million for the digital traffic system, and not P500 million as earlier reported. — BRP (FREEMAN)

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