Cebu Provincial Capitol asserts ownership of lot occupied by zoo

August 24, 2009 Cebu – The Cebu Provincial Government has reasserted its ownership of the property currently occupied by the Cebu City Zoo and warned the Cebu City Government against signing a Memorandum of Agreement intended for further zoo development.

In a letter addressed to Cebu City Mayor Tomas OsmeƱa, Provincial Legal Officer Marino Martinquilla said the Province of Cebu is the rightful owner of the 70,000 square meter lot occupied by the Cebu City Zoo and the City of Cebu “has no right or authority to enter into a memorandum of agreement
with Robert Yupangco or any other person involving the same.”

The property is adjacent to the Boy Scouts of the Philippines Cebu Council campsite at Capitol Hills, Cebu City. The Boy Scouts lot, marked 1298, was donated by the Province of Cebu, through a Deed of Donation in 1963, but the portion that is occupied by the City Zoo was excluded from the donation, according to a resolution approved by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

“Through mistake, however, the title of the whole Lot 1298 was transferred to the Boy Scouts under Transfer Certificate of Title No. 47044, including said area of 70,000 square meters excluded in the Deed of Donation,” said the resolution. The resolution also calls for the withdrawal and termination of the authority of the Cebu City zoo in using said lot.

“The setting aside of the said portion for use, operation and maintenance of the Cebu City Zoo is a unilateral and gratuitous act of the Province of Cebu, which granted a benefit or advantage but vested and created no right in favor of the Cebu City Zoo or any other person for that matter, and could be unilaterally withdrawn by the Province of Cebu in the exercise of its rights as owner,” the resolution approved by the Provincial Board (PB) reads.

The PB members also cited that the area is no longer feasible and proper for use as a zoo as it is near a residential area and other government institutions like the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center and the City Jail.

Moreover, the zoo hampers construction of the Cebu Women’s Center, a project of the Provincial Government.

The Women’s Center was a project envisioned by Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia since she assumed office in 2004. Aimed at assisting women-victims of violence and other crisis situations, said Center is included in her 12-point legislative agenda. (Manila Bulletin)

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