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On the 2019 annual financial report of the Commission on Audit, Cebu Province was able to cement its status as the richest province in the Philippines with an outstanding asset of P203.9 billion from the formerly reported P188 billion as of February 19 of this year. This is a 400 percent growth of wealth in comparison to the province’s total asset for 2018 (still highest at that time) which was at P35.7 billion.

This significant increase in Cebu’s value is highly attributed to the initiatives of current Cebu Province administration to recover the province’s prime properties that were disposed of by the previous administration, like the P4-billion Cyberzone Towers 1 and 2 in IT Park, and reappraise real properties of the province located in Cebu City and establishments based on the present zonal value and fair market value.

How did Cebu Province Became P188-Billion Richer?

It can be recalled that these properties were built in the Built-Transfer-Operate scheme. This is a private-public partnership where the private firm builds the structure on the government-owned property and when the building is complete, the ownership will then be transferred to the government while the private firm will the right to operate the property for a renewable period. In addition to this, while the firm operates the property, it will also be renting the lot where the building sits; hence giving the government a share of its income.

The reappraisal was headed by the Provincial Treasurer and Assessor, as ordered by the governor. Before this, the governor shared that the value of these properties was quite obsolete – as these were appraised during her previous term as governor in 2008. Under Section 219, also known as the General Revision of Assessment and Property Classification Clause of Local Government Code, the provincial assessor should conduct a reassessment of the values of real properties every three years.

How Cebu Province utilizes its Resources?

Despite this accomplishment, the governor also admitted that there’s still more that needs to be done given that the province has also dropped down to the 45th spot among the 81 provinces in the country in terms of competitiveness. 

She emphasized that it’s meaningless to be the richest province if the people will not feel the services provided by the government. Therefore, the challenge for the government is to translate such distinction to a meaningful delivery of basic services to the Cebuanos.

“What’s the use of being the richest province if what we have are dilapidated roads and there’s no water reaching the households?”

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