Governor Gwen Garcia met on with another batch of structure owners whose establishments are encroaching on province-owned lots along Osmeña Boulevard in Cebu City.
The Capitol’s real estate division has identified at least 22 structures that went beyond the allocated property line according to the Civil Code of 1949. These included known landmarks such as Cebu Doctor’s Hospital and University, Cebu Gospel Church, Suarez & Sons, Avon, Coco Mall, and Anitas, among many others.
The Cebu Provincial Government owns the stretch of road lots along Osmeña Blvd., including the sidewalks, from the Capitol Building to Fuente Osmeña Circle.
During the meeting on Tuesday, March 28, the governor told the structure owners that the Cebu Province, being the legal owner of these properties, has the right to demand just compensation based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) starting from the encroaching portions where the structures were constructed.
“Now, if you ask me to be compassionate, I have always been. But the thing is — it has always been my duty to exercise, to do all that I can to defend the interest of the constituents of the Province of Cebu,” Gov. Garcia said. This was her response after a structure owner asked for "compassion" because the encroachment issue only came up now during Gov. Garcia’s return to Capitol, more than 50 years since their building’s construction.
Gov. Garcia explained that it is the Cebuanos who own these properties and she is only a mere guardian. As governor, she is obligated by her position to seek just compensation for these properties on behalf of her constituents, otherwise, she would be charged with dereliction of duty.
The governor, however, granted their request for more time to double-check the validity of the Capitol’s claims, and to finalize their decision on whether or not they would pay rent for the usage of the province-owned properties or opt to demolish the encroaching parts of their structures.
Last Feb. 23, the governor also met with the 11 structure owners whose properties encroached on Capitol lots along Osmeña Boulevard and demanded just payment for the infringement. (Ulrica R. Wagas)