The South Road Properties
STREETLIFE - Nigel Paul Villarete (The Freeman) - May 7, 2019 - 12:00am

(Part 2 - The project development)

In Part 1 of this article, we started with its beginnings – how the SRP was just a body of water offshore of Cebu City. The younger generation cannot remember its watery past, and only see the vast prime land with buildings sprouting, and the Cebu South Coastal Road passing through it.

Its history started a long time ago. People don’t remember, especially the younger set, and recently, some quarters have questioned the fact that the SRP is the project of Mayor Tomas Osmeña. Maybe, their memory is not as clear as they think, or they have some hidden agenda somewhere, but all documents along the project’s history bear the imprimatur of the mayor. They say some other people thought of it first.

That’s possible, but then there must be many of them, and thinking of a project is not a sure measure of being its author. We can think of any project we want, but it’s the person who rolls up his sleeves, works, and finishes it, who can truly lay claim to it. For the SRP, if thinking is the only measure, then maybe it was former senator Serging Osmeña who thought of it first. I remember seeing a very old map of Cebu with a drawing of an offshore island in the south on it, which Mayor Tommy Osmeña said came from his father. That hardly makes Serging the author of the SRP.

How do we ascribe a project to a leader? NEDA calls it the Project Development Cycle. It starts with the project concept, for which a feasibility study is conducted. Thence comes the approval process – a long tedious task of getting all the approvals in all levels of government, up to the NEDA-Investment Coordinating Committee (ICC), which I’ve detailed in a previous article. The appraisal is next, followed by the loan negotiation, and ending with the signing of the loan agreement. Implementation follows.

Official documents will show that Tommy Osmeña initiated the project concept in 1989. Then, as chairman of the MCDP Committee, he had the feasibility study prepared, and got all the government approvals up to the ICC and NEDA Board.

He attended all the ICC meetings at all levels, always pushing for and defending the project. And then he spearheaded the discussions with the Japanese government, and ultimately got the loan signed in 1995. When the project was implemented, he continued oversight functions as the private sector chairman of the MCDP Committee. He continues to do so until now.

People can claim, but official documents will show who really worked on the SRP and steered it to completion, making it what it is today. Built at P2,900 per sq. m., it now costs P115,000. But it’s not about the cost, too, because the SRP is intended to be owned by Cebuanos, not sold.

Selling a few hectares is allowed in the original concept only to help in loan amortization. It’s an economic legacy for the prosperity, welfare, and future of all the people of Cebu City.

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