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Tomas to fight for BRT, SRP cost

Tomas to fight for BRT, SRP cost

CEBU, Philippines — For now, former Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña has no plans of running for any public office in the next elections.

Osmeña was seen paying his respects to his grandfather, Don Sergio Osmeña, Sr., whose 141st birth anniversary was commemorated by the Cebu City government yesterday.

“I’m not thinking about it (running in 2022). What happens to me is not important…I’m trying to save the money that Cebuanos deserve,” he told reporters.

The former mayor expressed his apprehensions on the plan of the current administration to use the proceeds of the 45.5-hectare South Road Properties (SRP) lot sale which for him was illegal.

Osmeña also expressed dismay on the “deception” on changing the route of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system.

As for the SRP lot sale, he said the city government should go for rebidding of the 45.5-hectare lots at SRP as it could earn over P50 billion which is relatively higher compared to its selling price at P16.7 billion.

“They will be all liable for that. It’s not P10 million. It’s billion. But they don’t care. That’s the problem. To me, the real problem is that the city…this is the chance of earning a lot more,” he said.

“Maybe some people would say that’s not enough? To me that’s a lot. That does not belong to me. I worked for that for the people of Cebu because that’s 45 hectares at P100,000 per square meter, that’s P50 billion,” he added.

Osmeña filed petition for declaratory relief with prayer for Temporary Restraining Order and Writ of Preliminary Injunction against Mayor Edgardo Labella, Sangguniang Panlungsod of the City of Cebu, SM Prime Holdings, Inc., Ayala Land, Inc.,  Cebu Holdings, Inc., Filinvest Land, Inc., Filinvest Alabang, Inc.,Cyberzone Properties, Inc., Anesy Holdings Corporation, Igold Holdings Corporation, and Betterfield Phils. Corp. to declare the sale as null and void from the very beginning.

He is referring to the 45.5-hectare lot sale bought by giant developers during the time of then mayor and now Vice Mayor Michael Rama in 2015.

The down payment of the lot sale was used to fund the recently-approved P2.5 billion Supplemental Budget-2 this year.

Mayor Edgardo Labella said his administration stands with Rama on the legality of the lot sale, adding that there is no legal impediment to use the SRP lot sale.

As for the BRT implementation, Osmeña believed that some critics of the projects pushed for the alleged amendment of the alignment of the system to cancel the project.

BRT is the brainchild of Osmeña who studied the project in the early ‘90s.

“Even the BRT, who got the money for the BRT? Me. I got the money for BRT for the people of Cebu,” he said.

To recall, the 23-kilometer BRT project’s original route will start from Barangay Bulacao, Cebu City and will traverse N. Bacalso Avenue, SRP, Osmeña Boulevard, Escario Street and Governor Cuenco Avenue going to Talamban.

Osmeña said the Department of Transportation, through the Technical Support Consultant of the BRT project, reportedly shortened the route from 23 kilometers to only 13 kilometers from the SRP to I.T. Park.

DOTr, for its part, already made clarifications that it will not shorten the route but it will even extend from Mambaling to Talisay City and from I.T. Park to Banilad-Talamban corridor.

“They say they will provide jeepneys from Bulacao to Talisay but that’s not the purpose of the BRT,” Osmeña said.

He said any changes that will be implemented should go through approval from the national government agencies like the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), as it might contradict the signed bilateral agreement with the international banks where the country got the money from.

Osmeña said what happens to him in the political scene is no longer important for as long as the projects that he envisioned to be implemented will be pushed through for the Cebuanos. (FREEMAN)


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