Bukidnon SP defers take on LGU-owned prime lots

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/13 Sept) – The Bukidnon provincial board has deferred deliberation on plans to develop the prime lot properties of the provincial government.

Board member Nemesio Beltran said the discussion on the proposal to develop the Capitol’s prime lot property in downtown Malaybalay into a commercial arcade was deferred as the provincial government is still exploring on what to do with the occupants of the lot.

The area is occupied by members of the Malaybalay Muslim Vendors Association.

Earlier, Bukidnon Gov. Alex Calingasan has requested authority from the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to develop the property.

In a letter dated April 13, 2011, Calingasan requested the board to authorize him to identify a private developer to develop the 2,823-sq.m. property in Barangay 4, Malaybalay City, right across the Plaza Rizal in the city’s downtown area.

The governor has eyed a public-private partnership through a build-operate-transfer scheme.

He has requested to be granted authority to enter into a contract with the still unidentified developer or private investor who is qualified to develop the project “consistent with the implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act 6957 as amended by Republic Act 7718 or the Build-Operate-Transfer Law.”

The property has been considered idle for decades but the provincial government allowed the city’s Maranao community to use it. It is the present site of the Malaybalay Muslim Vendors Association stalls along Fortich Street, the city’s main thoroughfare.

Calingasan also wrote that the provincial government will tap the city government of Malaybalay for possible relocation assistance of the affected families and vendors presently located in the property.

In a joint committee hearing on August 26, the provincial government also requested authority to proceed with the development of the Capitol’s proposed Panorama Heights subdivision project in Kalasungay, Malaybalay City, which was stalled earlier.

Beltran said earlier the project was initiated during the Fortich administration, from 1998 to 2001, not as a housing project. The province just subdivided lots for sale. But buyers did not build houses yet because electricity and water are not available yet, and there are still no roads yet.

Calingasan has requested to use P3.089 million for the initial construction of houses for qualified buyers and to enter into a contract of sale with the prospective buyers either on cash or installment basis. The project is proposed to be under the socialized housing project of the LGU.

Beltran said Delia Damasco, chief of the Provincial Housing Office, was invited to appear in last week’s regular session to shed light on the issue.

But he said Monday Damasco has requested to defer discussion on the properties. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)