Road dispute ‘stalled work’

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

OFFICIALS of Barangay Apas, Cebu City, said that W. Geonzon St. is a public road, so Filinvest Land Inc. (FLI) should have been given access to the area for the construction of its P5-billion business process outsourcing (BPO) complex.

The Apas Barangay Council passed last Friday a resolution “officially recognizing and confirming” that W. Geonzon in Sitio San Miguel is a public street.

In their resolution, the council’s basis for saying that W. Geonzon is a public road is that it had already been used as such long before the Cebu IT Park was developed.


But a representative of the company that owns the adjacent IT Park said that the Province, as a stakeholder of the Cebu Property Ventures and Development Corp. (CPVDC), would appreciate the need to secure the park and limit access to it.

The road, which is located beside the property where the Bagong Buhay Rehabilitation Center (BBRC) previously stood, is named after Atty. Winefreda Geonzon, a human rights advocate who gave legal aid to prisoners.

Another basis the barangay council cited was the declaration of the City Government’s Local Board of Assessment Appeals last June 1, 2007 that W. Geonzon St. is exempted from real property taxes.

The tax exemption, they said, was based on the recommendation of the City Assessor’s Office since the road is “actually and directly being used by the general public.”

In an interview with Sun.Star Cebu yesterday, Apas Barangay Captain Ramil Ayuman said that their official declaration of W. Geonzon St. as a public road will allow unhampered access of the residents and other road users, such as FLI, in the area.

Also, Ayuman said the barangay’s move followed the statement of Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III that FLI’s project in San Miguel has been delayed for more than a year because of the refusal of the Cebu Property Ventures and Development Corp. (CPVDC) to give them access from Cebu IT Park to the construction site.

Sought for comment on the barangay’s move, Atty. Jeanette Japzon, corporate communications manager of Cebu Holdings Inc. (CHI), said FLI’s project is situated in a property that is located outside the 27-hectare Peza-accredited IT Park.

The street, Japzon said, is duly titled under CPVDC and it is only open to the public by mere tolerance of the IT Park association and CPVDC.

“The locators and investors in Cebu IT Park, through the association’s board, expressed serious concerns on the need to secure the private property and to safeguard its overall business interest...Properties outside of the park cannot just breach boundaries on the privately titled road without overstepping ownership rights,” Japzon said, in a statement sent to Sun.Star Cebu. A copy of the title was also attached.

Moreover, she said that CPVDC, a publicly-listed company where Cebu Province is a major stakeholder, is required to ensure that its obligations to the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) are fully complied with.

“Allowing unauthorized access to a Peza-accredited zone could not only compromise our registration but may create a dangerous precedence for other similar properties,” she added.

Japzon said that CPVDC is already communicating with the Province on their reasons for securing the perimeter and limiting access to IT Park.

CPVDC is a subsidiary of CHI and an affiliate of Ayala Land Inc.

FLI’s BPO project in Apas will rise in a 1.2-hectare Province-owned lot where the city jail used to stand. It is a joint venture project with the Provincial Government and involves the construction of four BPO towers. PDF

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 14, 2014.

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