BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan said the city government is inclined not to renew the 15-year lease agreements of building owners within the public market to allow the local government to be able to bid out the city-owned properties for future better deals.
The city mayor pointed out it seems the building owners are trying to take the local government for granted by trying to pressure city officials into giving in to their demand for much lower rental payments that could already be disadvantageous to the city which owns the property where the buildings were erected.
“We will no longer renew their lease contracts and they can have their improvements so that the city government could bid the city-owned property for us to be able to get a much better deal compared to what the building owners want at the moment,” Domogan stressed.
IN the 1970s, the city government allowed the building owners to introduce improvements and build their structures within the city property and for them to operate their structures with a rental of a mere P0.25 per square meter per day or a monthly rental of only P2,000.
Because of the leniency of city officials, the lease contract of the building owners were renewed for another 15 years with the rental increased to P0.75 per square meter per month.
For the second time in a row, city officials were forced to renew the lease contract of the building owners which will expire anytime while other lease contracts already expired.
Domogan agreed that the city government and some building owners were able to agree to increase their rentals from P2,000 per month to P9,000 per month but it seems they do not agree to such agreement and they seem to even question the local government for pegging the ceiling for their lease rentals.
Domogan claimed once the city government will agree to what the building owners are demanding, the Commission on Audit (COA) will be forced to come out with findings that local officials entered into agreements with the building owners that are grossly disadvantageous to the city and local officials are liable for such questionable contracts.
Under the original lease agreement, the building owners that constructed their structures within the city property are obliged to return to the city their improvements for the city to manage.
If the city and the building owners cannot agree to better terms, the city mayor announced that the building owners are free to have their improvements, demolish their structures and leave so that there will be another round of public bidding to be done in order to attract interested building owners to come out with better offers rather than stick to disadvantageous deals that could open the floodgates for the filing of graft charges against them.
He called on the building owners not to force the city government into embracing the worst case scenario that will lead to the demolition of their structures and to subject the property to public bidding since they were already able to recover their expenses and that their contracts were renewed twice that allowed them to stay in the area for an extended period instead of the limited 15-year period.