BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan divulged that the contracts of some one hundred twenty-seven market building owners within the vicinity of the city public market already expired as of December 31, 2015 which means that they do not have the right to continuously occupy their built-up areas unless their contracts are renewed with the inclusion of the 15-year expiration period.
The local chief executive pointed out while the local government does not have the authority to force the building owners to sign the renewal of their contracts with the 15-year expiration period, the building owners do not also have the right to compel the city to renew their contracts pursuant to their conditions, thus, there has been no mutual agreement of the parties concerned.
Of the 127 building owners, some 83 building owners have already signed the renewal of their contracts with the local government that included the 15-year expiration period while 46 insist on the removal of the expiration period from their contracts.
Currently, 37 renewed contracts were confirmed by the local legislative body while the local chief executive signed more than 30 contracts which will be submitted to the city council for confirmation before the lapse of the 90-day ultimatum issued by the city for the renewal of their contracts.
Domogan explained after the expiration of the 90-day grace period on August 27, 2017, the building owners who have not renewed their contracts by then can take their improvements in their leased areas to allow the local government to bid out the said properties to interested bidders who accept the prescribed expiration of their contracts.
He underscored the increase of the rentals from P2 per square meter per day to P6 per square meter per day was a product of continuous negotiations with the affected building owners who agreed to the revised rentals for the city-owned lands that they currently occupy.
He explained the agreed revised rental rate is still beneficial to the building owners because it is computed based on the land area occupied by their structures and not computed on a per floor basis, thus, it would be unfair to the local government for the building owners to claim that the renewed contracts are to the greater advantage of the local government.
Domogan asserted the building owners should be thankful that the local government still opted to continue negotiating with them to strike a better deal instead of acceding to the recommendation of the Commission on Audit (COA) for the city to bid out the use of the leased areas considering that the previous contracts were reportedly grossly disadvantageous to the city as per COA findings.
The next batch of renewed contracts will be transmitted to the local legislative body for confirmation.
By Dexter A. See