BAGUIO CITY – The city council invited the representatives of various offices of the city government to shed light on the findings of the Commission on Audit (COA) based on its Audit Observation Memorandum (AOM) No. 16-017 dated March 16, 2016 regarding on the observations regarding the deficiencies and errors in the memoranda of agreement executed between the local government and several occupants and leaseholders of the Baguio Convention Center.
The council approved the recommendation of the committee on laws to invite Margie D. Bongait, Audit Team Leader, Shalemar Garcia, Supervising Auditor, City Administrator Carlos M. Canilao, City Treasurer Alex Cabarrubias, Tourism Officer Benedicto Alhambra, City Legal Officer Melchor Carlos Rabanes and all occupants and leaseholders of office spaces and parking spaces at the Baguio Convention Center or their duly authorized representatives to appear before the local legislative body on April 18, 2016 to clarify the issues relative thereto.
Under the aforesaid AOM, the COA recommended the city government to strictly adhere to the provisions of Tax Ordinance No. 095-95 and other related ordinances; institute measures on the collection of parking fees at the Baguio Convention Center to generate revenues which can be used in the improvement of the facility; consider regulating the entry and use of the BCC as parking area for public utility vehicles, vans and other public transport and assign security guards to secure the premises of the facility.
Further, the COA also reminded the city government to give instructions to the officers and members of the Baguio-Rosario Van Operators and Drivers Association (BAROVODA) and the Baguio-Tayog Commuters Association Inc. to strictly comply with the terms and conditions of the agreement they signed with the city, otherwise the local government should enforce the provision on automatic termination of the privilege given for any violation of the provisions of the agreement and instruct the city tourism office to monitor compliance of the associations with the stipulations of the agreement, especially on the number of parking slots being used as loading and unloading areas.
On the use of some portions of the facility for office spaces among others, the COA recommended the city must coordinate with the concerned occupants or leaseholders for the possible execution of a contract with the city government on use of spaces of the center; should they agree, determine reasonableness of the terms and rental rates for the spaces being occupied and secure authorization from the city council as provided for under the Local government Code of 1991 and hasten the collection of unpaid rent totalling P140,000 from Glorious Freedom Community Church and CMCI.
The council required the concerned offices to submit their respective comments relative to the AOM findings and recommendations prior to their scheduled appearance before the local legislative body for further study by the members.
By Dexter A. See