Cebu prelate signs land deal before retirement

January 11, 2011

PHILIPPINES: The archbishop of Cebu in the central Philippines has entered into an agreement with the city authorities for an exchange of properties days before he retires from office. Ricardo Cardinal Vidal handed over Osmeña Mausoleum, the tomb of the late senator Sergio Osmeña Jr., in exchange for a 729-square meter property that was subleased to the Sisters of Charity. The Sisters of Charity had been worried that, when the contract ends, they would be evicted. “It is an act of historical concern and love,” Cardinal Vidal said during the signing of the agreement with Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama. Observers say the city got the best of the deal, with the Sisters of Charity property worth an estimated 2.33 million pesos (US$52,400) compared with 105.28 million pesos for the mausoleum. But the city also granted a 5 million peso tax break to the Catholic properties for five years. PV12800.1636