Cebu News

PB authorizes Gwen to take legal action vs OPRRA folk

Gregg M. Rubio - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — The Cebu Provincial Board has authorized Governor Gwendolyn Garcia to act against the illegal occupants of the province-owned subdivided lots in Barangay Kalunasan, Cebu City, particularly at the Old Philippines Railway Residents Association (OPRRA).

The move came after the occupants failed to signify their willingness to buy the lot within the March 31 deadline.

Earlier this year, residents of the said property were given the chance at owning the lots they are occupying, an issue that can be traced to as far back as 49 years ago.

On April 28, 2023, finding that several occupants have not signified their willingness to buy, the Provincial Legal Office (PLO) sent final demand notices for them to vacate the premises they are illegally occupying and demolish the structures they have illegally constructed.

“To date, these persons have failed and refused to heed to the abovementioned final demand, to the detriment and damage of the Province of Cebu,” read the resolution sponsored by PB Member John Ismael Borgonia that was passed in yesterday’s session.

Members of the Old Philippines Railway Homeowners Association (OPRHA), OPRRA United Homeowners Association (OUHA), and Actual Occupants and Residents of OPRRA Kalunasan Inc. (AOROK) can purchase the lots through the Home Development Mutual Fund of Pag-IBIG.

According to Pag-IBIG Business Manager Paulino Talacay, the residents can purchase the lots at P10,000 to P11,000 per square meter, based on the lots’ reappraised value.

Garcia and the OPRRA occupants, in several meetings, agreed that the selling price of the lots should be at the equitable reappraised value of P1,000 per square meter.

Garcia said she is doing this as a sign of good faith to residents who showed interest to purchase the province-owned lot with the aid of Pag-IBIG.

Last January 12, 2023, Garcia called for a meeting with the homeowners in the presence of officials from Pag-IBIG, the National Housing Authority, and Capitol officials.

Garcia, however, emphasized that the offer to avail is only good for residents who manifested interest to purchase the lots through Pag-IBIG.

In 2022, the governor has assured residents that the Capitol intends to give them peace of mind and offer the lot at a fair price. There are now 548 subdivided household lots in OPRRA.

Sometime in 2020, the Province of Cebu decided to sell the subdivided lots in the property to the present occupants.

Garcia was earlier authorized by the PB in Resolution No. 584-2020 dated March 6, 2020, to sell the subdivided home lots with a total land area of 160,196 square meters.

The Province of Cebu, for a long time and by mere tolerance, has allowed several persons to occupy the subdivided lots in the property.

On January 28, 2020, the Province of Cebu, through the PLO, sent demand letters to the occupants to vacate the home lots they are illegally occupying.

Developments to settle the land dispute issue were initiated back on June 7, 1971, when the Province of Cebu and the OPRRA, Inc. signed a Sales Agreement for 11 parcels of land.

The value per square meter then was at P10.

Forty years later on April 16, 2012, the PB terminated the agreement because of the association members’ failure to pay.

The province then decided to sell and dispose of unsold properties.

AOROK offered to purchase the remaining 40,560 square meters for P3,273.33 per square meter or a total of P132,766,264.80. Seeing this as a fair and reasonable deal, the province and AOROK signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) last September 10, 2012.

As stipulated in the MOA, AOROK members must pay the amount not later than six months, a deal that the members failed to meet.

Last month, Paulo Entera, Capitol consultant on real estate management, surveyed the 388 unsold lots in the area to reappraise their value. — (FREEMAN)

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