THE Cebu City Government and the Filinvest consortium came to a resolution regarding the controversial sale of a 19.2-hectare property at the South Road Properties (SRP) on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, with the full payment and the signing of the Deed of Absolute Sale.
The City received P6.75 billion issued in check as full payment for the 19.2-hectare parcel of land purchased on Aug. 7, 2015.
Lawyer Jerone Castillo of the City Treasurer’s Office said the P6.75 billion payment includes P450,915,468, the accumulated interest for the unpaid installments since 2017.
The consortium—composed of Filinvest firms Filinvest Land Inc. (FLI), Filinvest Alabang Inc. and Cyberzone Properties Inc., and Sytengco-owned firms including Anesy Holding Corp., Betterfield Phils. Corp. and Igold Holdings Corp.—fully paid for the property on Dec. 19, 2019, and received a certificate of full payment from the City on the same date.
In 2015, Filinvest paid an initial P4.5 billion for the 19.2-hectare parcel of land at the SRP.
In 2017, Filinvest rescinded the sale contract of the 19.2-hectare Lot 1 on the basis that the City Government failed to fulfill its obligations under the sale contract.
Then Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña, who had planned to revoke the sale, did not object.
When Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella assumed office in mid-2019, Filinvest sent a check to pay off its remaining balance for the purchase of the property, but this was not received by City Administrator Floro Casas as directed by the mayor.
Voiding sale contract
The Labella administration wanted to void the 2015 sale contract after Filinvest rescinded the deal in 2017.
City Legal Officer Rey Gealon explained that the reason the City refused to accept the payment of FLI in August last year was that the amount did not include the interest or penalty.
“Considering that full payment has been made, the sale of a portion of SRP land to Filinvest is now consummated. The City of Cebu and Filinvest came to terms on how to go about the transaction. They decided to push through with it for mutual benefit and interest,” Gealon said.
Gealon said Filinvest can now proceed with the development of the property with the infrastructures stipulated in the terms of reference earlier agreed.
“There is no stopping the SRP’s development, which would certainly boost the economic profile of the city, and provide millions of jobs and other opportunities to Cebuanos and everyone else,” he said.
Castillo said that with the full payment from Filinvest, the City’s funds increased to P19 billion.
FLI’s disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange Wednesday, quoted Labella as saying: “We welcome the new developments and opportunities that Filinvest consortium will bring to the SRP and to the City. The purchase payment will help the City to finally retire the SRP loan and provide basic services to its constituents. Our city strives to maintain the business-friendly environment that has made us one of the top investment havens in the Philippines.”
The mayor wants to settle the P1.75 billion loan balance for the development of the SRP with the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
In the disclosure, Filinvest said it is looking to create a mixed-use development with residential, office, commercial and retail components.
“We now have a total developable land size of around 70 hectares, which is the biggest share owned by any developer in the SRP. We are excited about what we can develop given the large size of land we have and influence the trend and development directions in SRP to maximize its growth potentials,” said L. Josephine Gotianun Yap, Filinvest Development Corp. president and chief executive officer. (PAC, MVG)