93-1 land cost ‘too HIGH’ for Cebu City

·3 min read

WHILE the Cebu City and Cebu Provincial Governments have determined the method of land valuation to be used in the 93-1 deal, as far as the City is concerned, the cost of the land will be too high for the purpose of a socialized housing program for its constituents.

Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia told reporters Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022, that the two local government units (LGUs) had agreed to use the zonal valuation of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

But upon using the BIR’s valuation of the properties involved, the cost of the properties reached P8 billion, which is “really high,” according to Garcia.

“The P8 billion is based on BIR value... The BIR valuation does not take into consideration and account that the property will be sold on a socialized (housing rate),” Garcia said in a mix of Cebuano and English.

Garcia has recommended to Mayor Michael Rama the creation of an appraisal committee composed of officials from the executive and legislative offices of City Hall to help determine a favorable value for the properties.

The Cebu City Government also plans to amend the land valuation used by the City Assessors Office that has not been updated since 2003, Garcia said.

He explained that the City Government can use the updated land valuation of the assessor’s office as comparative data to the valuation used by the BIR.

Disadvantage

Garcia said if the BIR valuation were to be followed, it will not be beneficial to the residents occupying the 32 hectares of properties involved in the land swap deal.

Once the City Government acquires the properties from the Provincial Government, Garcia said the land will be sold to the residents at a very low cost. Thus, buying it from the Capitol at an expensive rate would be disadvantageous to the City.

Garcia said the BIR’s valuation would set the cost of the land at around P70,000 to P100,000 per square meter, but the City Government will sell it to the occupants for only a maximum of P10,000 per square meter.

According to Garcia, Rama will have the final say on whether to adopt the future recommendation of the appraisal committee on the value of the properties.

Should Rama approve this, Garcia said the next step would be for the City Government to allocate funds or exchange City-owned properties for Capitol’s 93-1 land.

“I have done my role already. I would say 99 percent of my job is done so far as being an emissary or representative of the mayor,” said Garcia, who led the negotiations between the City and the Provincial Government.

Passed by the Provincial Board in 1993, Ordinance 93-1 allowed Cebu City residents to own the Province-owned lots they were occupying after paying in full the amortization on the property in two years. A 10-year extension was given to 93-1 occupants, but the period lapsed in 2004.

The plight of the lot occupants resulted in a proposed land swap in 2006 between Capitol and City Hall, but talks bogged down.

In August 2018, however, the 93-1 land swap deal was signed by then Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña and then Cebu governor and now Vice Gov. Hilario “Junjun” Davide III.

But the deal was later voided after the Commission on Audit found that the two LGUs entered into the contract without prior consent from state auditors.

After Osmeńa lost his re-election bid in the May 2019 elections to Edgardo Labella, the deed of donation and acceptance for the properties involved in the deal were not implemented due to the legal issues.

Around 5,000 families have been occupying the controversial 93-1 lots in 11 Cebu City barangays for more than 30 years.