Cebu News

PB revokes agreement with city on 93-1 lots

Robhe Jane C. Yara - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — The Cebu Provincial Board revoked on Monday a memorandum of agreement and subsequent deeds of donation entered into between the provincial government of Cebu and the Cebu City government concerning lots under Provincial Ordinance 93-1.

The resolution, authored by PB Member John Ismael Borgonia, cited as reasons for the revocation the “defective” lot donations and the continuously failing land swap negotiations between the two local government units.

To recall, former Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña and then governor, now Vice Governor Hilario Davide III, signed in December 2016 a memorandum of agreement for land swapping between the City and the Province covering 32 hectares of province-owned lots covered by Ordinance 93-1 located in several Cebu City barangays.

The lots subject of the agreement also include the 1.5-hectare in the Department of Agriculture compound along M. Velez St.; 2,358 square meters on Gorordo Ave. in Barangay Lahug, and 577 square meters on Don Gil Garcia St. in Barangay Capitol Site.

In exchange, Cebu City will give the province a 2.5-hectare lot in the South Road Properties (SRP); 3.3-hectare block 27 behind SM City in Barangay Mabolo; 2.5-hectare botanical garden behind SM Seaside City in the SRP; nine hectares in Barangay Pulpogan, Consolacion; 1.37-hectare septage treatment plant; and the 2,476-square-meter abattoir lot including possession and rights to the zoo.

The province and the city then executed a deed of donation on August 3, 2018. The donation, however, was voided after the Commission on Audit found that the two local government units entered the contract without prior consent from the state auditors.

The resolution stated that the donated portion of the SRP did not have prior approval of the Cebu City Council which is required under City Ordinance No. 2332, "An Ordinance Protecting the South Road Properties and its Stakeholders From Unlawful and Unauthorized Transactions and Dealings."

The provincial board also questioned Cebu City government’s building a quarantine center on Block 27 at the North Reclamation Area when the property was included in the donation to the province. According to the PB, building a quarantine center on a donated property is a violation of the agreement signed by both parties.

The PB also noted an attempt by both parties to renegotiate using a value-for-value exchange, but despite the many meetings/negotiations it did not succeed.

In October last year, Governor Gwendolyn "Gwen" Garcia opted to deal directly with the 93-1 lot occupants instead of pursuing a land swap deal with the city government.

Garcia announced, in a meeting with the homeowners, she would not evict them if they would pay for the lots they had been occupying for decades under the PagIBIG Fund following an appraisal of the lots, stressing that some had been there since 1988. — FPL (FREEMAN)

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