Homeowner groups back land swap deal with CapitolBy Doris C. Bongcac
Cebu Daily News
Heads of different urban poor groups who occupy Cebu City lots covered under Provincial Ordinance 93-1 agree that a lot swap with the province is the “best solution” to assure them land tenure.
They also threatened to campaign against anyone who opposes the land swap in the 2013 election.
“When the 2007 lot swap failed, our dreams were turned into frustration, disappointment and anger because of that (“dawat limpyo”) comment which aborted the land swap,” said Emily Malto, head of the Anagan Homeowners Association.
Her comment recalled the words of then vice mayor Michael Rama who opposed the land swap as giving unfair advantage to the Capitol.
Yesterday’s public hearing of the City Council held in barangay Luz had many signs of a campaign against a Rama reelection.
Outside the Luz sports complex hung a tarpaulin banner saying “Together nothing happened.. from 93-1 lot occupants”. It showed photos of Rama and Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia.
Mayor Rama cried foul over the banners.
“I’m sorry but they’re just a disgrace,” he said.
At least 11 speakers, mostly homeowners association presidents, former councilor and Liberal Party Cebu province head Hilario Davide III and Rep. Tomas Osmeña of the south district took turns speaking out against the land swap deal.
Malto said her hopes were restored after the City Council passed during their Aug. 8 session a resolution authorizing Mayor Rama to renegotiate a land swap deal with the Capitol.
Of the speakers, only one, Bebie Basillano, opposed the land swap.
She said negotiations with the Capitol which are supported by Vice President Jejomar Binay should continue.
Provincial Ordinance 93-1 covers Capitol owned properties in 11 Cebu City barangays are occupied by 40 homeowners associations.
So far, five of the homeowners association sign an agreement with the Capitol to renegotiate the sale of the lots they occupy.
About 13 other associations are scheduled to sign an agreement with the governor anytime.
Governor Garcia, who rejected the revival of the land swap deal, said that d 80 percent of the 93-1 occupants support the direct sale scheme.
Under the scheme, the homeowners can apply for a long-term loan with the Socialized Housing Finance Corp. (SHFC) or through the Community Mortgage Program (CMP).
Proceeds of the loans will be paid to the Capitol.
Osmeña, the former mayor, said swapping the two hectare Block 27 of the North Reclamation Area with province-owned lots would enable City Hall to deal directly with the occupants. With reports from Correspondent Tweeny M. Malinao