BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan said the local government is waiting for the proposal of the fish vendors occupying the old Rillera building before coming out with the measures to take over the property to develop it for appropriate uses.
The local chief executive expressed his appreciation to the affected fish vendors led by Esther Brillantes for not filing a motion for reconsideration on the recent ruling of the Supreme Court (SC) that upheld the position of the local government to close the Rillera building due to the failure of the vendors to complete the structure and institute sanitation measure, among others, to make the building suitable for occupancy.
“We will wait for the decision to attain finality before we will proceed with other options while considering the proposals of the fish vendors who signified their intention to comply with the ruling of the high tribunal,” Domogan stressed.
He added that city officials are willing to sit down with the affected fish vendors to discuss the merits of their proposal pursuant to the SC decision and for the mutual benefit of both parties to finally close the 11-year old case.
Domogan explained the fish vendors will be treated similar to the way market vendors are being treated by the local governments in terms of their obligations in the payment of the necessary fees in occupying their existing stalls.
He directed City Treasurer Alex Cabarrubias to make the necessary computations on the accumulated rentals of the fish vendors of the Rillera building since 1975 and to ascertain if the said fish vendors settled their P25,000 annual lease rentals to the city for the 25-year term of the lease agreement that should have expired in 1999.
Earlier, the SC ruled in favour of the order of former Mayor Braulio Yaranon to close the operation of the Rillera building to allow the local government to improve and sanitize the structure after findings showed there were alleged defects in the second and third floors of the 1974-built building through a build-operate and transfer scheme.
The High Court also held that the contract entered into by the local government and the Hilltop Fish Market Vendors Association in 1974 was binding from the start and that the condition, stating among others, that the association shall start paying the agreed lease rental of P25,000 annually only after the City Engineering Office shall have issued the occupancy permit was not a primary condition of the agreement but it was only a condition for the payment of the lease rentals, thus, the association could not invoke the non-issuance of the occupancy permit as a primary condition for the 25-year old lease agreement.
The Rillera building occupies a 568-square meter city-owned lot within the city public market as the fish market pursuant to the 25-year old lease agreement entered into between the city and the group of market vendors.
By Dexter A. See