The Cebu Provincial Government under the administration of Governor Gwendolyn Garcia continues to take back properties the previous administration has given away.
This time, it is the 679-square-meter property along Gorordo Ave. in Cebu City that was donated by the previous administration to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) 7.
The lot, which was donated in August 2018, has a commercial value of P88.3 million, or P130,000 per square meter. But the Commission on Audit (COA) submitted an observation that the donation did not have its approval, hence, Governor Gwendolyn Garcia said the donation was defective.
On Tuesday, April 6, 2021, Garcia met with CIDG7 Director Edwin Dayag to inform him of her intention to revoke the deed of donation entered into between the Provincial Government and the CIDG for lack of proper documentation and prior COA approval.
Garcia offered to transfer the office of CIDG7 to a provincial lot in Sudlon, Barangay Lahug in Cebu City, which is now identified as a “government center,” through a usufruct agreement.
“This deed of donation needs to be revoked, then enter into a deed of usufruct with CIDG for another piece of property that you and, together with the real estate, decide upon in the designated government center. Diyan talaga dapat because that’s already designated as a government center. Not that very valuable piece of property, highly commercial value along Gorordo Ave,” Garcia said.
The governor added that she will not give away provincial lots because these are owned by the Cebuanos.
“That should have never been donated. In fact, it can even be grounds for complaint with the Ombudsman on the grounds that it's grossly disadvantageous to the Province of Cebu. Why should that property be given when we still have available lots in the designated government center?” she explained.
The government center in Sudlon is also home to the offices of the Cebu Provincial Police Office, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Crime Laboratory and Cebu Provincial Women and Children Development Center, among many others.
Dayag told the governor that he had no problem if the Cebu Provincial Government transfers their office, adding that he was grateful to the Capitol for providing space for their office.
“Malaking pasasalamat din namin kasi sabi ko kahit papaano nabigyan kami ng sarili naming lot for the construction of our building,” he said.
On Wednesday, April 7, Garcia also met with representatives of the Highway Patrol Group (HPG) 7 to inform them that she wanted to revoke the deed of donation it entered in 2018 with the previous administration because it also lacked COA approval.
Garcia also offered a lot at the government center in Sudlon where the HPG office could move.
The governor also met with representatives of the Regional Internal Affairs Service (RIAS) 7 and the Bureau of Treasury (BOT) 7 with the intention to amend the terms and conditions of the deed of usufruct entered in 2018 with the previous administration for the use of provincial lots.
Based on the previous agreement, RIAS 7 and BOT 7 are allowed to use the provincial lots for 50 years.
Last Monday, April 12 during its regular session, the Cebu Provincial Board authorized Garcia to enter into and sign the amended deed of usufruct between the Province and RIAS7.
The Provincial Board approved the resolution penned by third district PB Member John Ismael Borgonia to amend the usufruct agreement from 50 years to 25 years and renewable for another 25 years as may be agreed by both parties.
“…it was later on found that the agreement between the Province of Cebu and RIAS 7, particularly the duration of the usufruct for 50 years was gravely disadvantageous to the former and did not have the approval of COA in accordance with COA Circular 2017-003 in relation to Section 197 of COA Audit Circular 92-386 dated Oct. 20, 1992, Prescribing the Rules and Regulations on Supply and Property Management in the Local Government Units,” the resolution stated.
RIAS7 Director Rex Urbano told the PB that since they’ve already calendared the budget for the construction of their office this year, he hopes the Province will provide them with a lot in Sudlon, Lahug.
“Maayo unta ang RIAS makalugar sa pwesto nga makita nga independent siya,” Urbano said, adding they are still holding office inside the Police Regional Office 7 in Camp Sergio Osmeña on R. R. Landon St. in Cebu City.
Since Garcia’s return as governor in 2019, the Province has recovered provincial lots, including 29.7 hectares in Sta. Fe in Bantayan Island where the Bantayan Island Airport is located.
The Province also took back control over its lots on Salinas Drive and Governor M. Cuenco Ave. in Cebu IT Park, both in Cebu City, after the 2015 memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the Capitol and the Property Ventures and Development Corp. (CPVDC) was terminated.
The MOA granted CPVDC perpetual road right-of-way and control over two access roads that lead to the Cebu IT Park on Salinas Drive in Barangay Lahug and the three roads along Governor M. Cuenco Ave. in Barangay Kasambagan, which Garcia found “onerous and grossly disadvantageous to the Province.” (Mylen P. Manto with reports from Paula Joy Mendoza)