Five councilors voted in favor and four voted against the resolution which allows Miguel to transact the purchase of a nine-hectare site costing at least P20 million or P225 per square meter.
Councilor Sergio Morales, the principal author of the resolution, claimed the price is “reasonable” and would be to the best interest of the city.
“This land would be one of the best investments of the city because the property does not depreciate in value but appreciate,” he said.
Councilor Phinney Araquil, who opposed the resolution, said the price of the land is too expensive and buying it is disadvantageous to the local government unit.
“I am not against the purchase of a land for the site of the regional government offices. However, the price as proposed is unreasonable,” he said.
Araquil noted that the price of the site should have been lowered to P16 million, considering that it is far from the main business district at the city proper.
The others who opposed Morales’s measure echoed the sentiments of Araquil.
The site, presently a golf driving range, is owned by the family of former city mayor Vicente de Jesus, Miguel’s opponent in the last elections.
Miguel earlier enticed the regional government offices to transfer here from Cotabato City, saying the Koronadal government would take charge of their relocation site.
President Gloria Arroyo’s issuance of Executive Order 304 on March 30, 2004 affirmed Koronadal as the seat of Region-12.
In 1990, after the administrative regions were realigned following the plebiscite on the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, then President Corazon Aquino issued Executive Order 429 directing the transfer of the seat of Region-12 from Cotabato City to Koronadal City as well as that of Western Mindanao from Zamboanga City to Pagadian City.
In September 2001, Arroyo issued Executive Order 36 providing for the reorganization of the administrative regions following the August 14 plebiscite of the "expanded" Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
The EO reorganized Mindanao's administrative regions but failed to identify the seat of Region 12.
It was EO 304 that ordered “all departments, bureaus and offices of the national government in the region” to transfer their seat of operations to Koronadal City.
Among those have transferred here so far are the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Agriculture, Department of Budget and Management, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and Philippine Information Agency.
They are, however, scattered in different locations in the city contrary to the plans of the local government to put them in one place.
Those who remain in Cotabato City are the National Economic Development Authority, Department of Tourism, Department of Science and Technology, National Police Commission, among others. (MindaNews)