Capitol willing to talk with city

07/23/2010 - CEBU, Philippines - Could this be the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel?

Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia yesterday said that the provincial government is willing to reopen negotiations regarding the fate of the close to 5,000 families living in province-owned lots.

The governor said that Capitol has confidence on the administration of new Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, thus the reopening of the negotiations.

“I am seeing light at the end of the long and dark tunnel and this light I believe can radiate to so many other aspects in the relationship between the Province of Cebu and the City of Cebu especially when it involves the lives of over 4,000 families that are affected by 93-1,” said Governor Garcia.

Garcia admitted that the case of 93-1 is not as simplistic as former Cebu City mayor and now Cebu City South District Rep. Tomas Osmeña makes it appear.

The governor said whenever he (Osmeña) talks 93-1, he has one sentence to say, “I cannot turn my back on 4,000 residents.”

Garcia further said that Osmeña continues telling a lie over the issue.

“Kon bakak balik-balikon og bakak usahay mutuo nang tawo nga tinuod,” said Garcia.

She stressed that the issue over the lots covered by Provincial Ordinance 93-1 is not simply citing its many complications.

The 93-1 residents or families have different categories, “dunay mga naka- fully pay, within the speculated period, after several extensions, dunay naka-partially pay until we no longer extended, the term of payment, unya dunay wala gayud mamayad,” the governor said.

Furthermore, she said these lots are scattered in different areas throughout the City of Cebu.

“We have started to issue already the ownership documents to those that had fully paid, and we will continue to do that as verification continues,” Garcia said.

The governor also said that the provincial government is willing to listen to the side of the city government especially now that it is under the leadership of Rama.

Rama was tagged responsible for the calling off of the proposed land swap deal after his privilege speech that caught the ire of the Provincial Board.

Then Vice Mayor Rama raised his objection to the deal, saying it was very disadvantageous to the city government.

Delighted

Mayor Rama was reportedly delighted to know the plan of the province to reopen negotiations.

He said that this could put a closure to the matter.

“We are happy that she is open again for negotiation. Even before she made the pronouncement I already talked with the stakeholders since I want acceleration in the closure of the issue,” Rama said.

The mayor, however, said that while he welcomes the development, he will have to refer this to the City Attorney’s Office to study the technical and legal details.

Osmeña refused to comment on the issue but said that he will let former city Administrator Francisco “Bimbo” Fernandez speak on behalf of the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK).

“It was Mike and Pesquera (former Councilor Joy Pesquera) who blocked the land swap. Anyway, it should be Bimbo (who was the point man who negotiated for the city and the occupants) who is the best man to comment on the matter,” Osmeña said in a text message.

Osmeña and Garcia have been at odds with each other since the province backed out from the land swap proposal that was almost successful had Rama did not deliver a speech accusing the province of “dawat limpyo.”

Fernandez told The FREEMAN in a phone interview that Osmeña assigned him to represent the BOPK because 93-1 is a BOPK issue for 15 years already.

“We are happy they are willing to negotiate. Negotiation is always very good so kung makapangita ta’g paagi na mutually acceptable, nga di masakripisyo ang 5,000 ka mga lumulupyo diha, then we will make our position on that,” Fernandez said. (THE FREEMAN)

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