BAGUIO CITY – Dozens of building owners within the leased areas of the Baguio City public market agreed to the proposal of the Baguio City Market Authority (BCMA) to significantly increase their rentals to allow the renewal of their lease contracts for the last time.
The building owners led by lawyer Moises Cating and lawyer Zosimo Abratique recently met with the BCMA members and representatives from the Commission on Audit (COA) to discuss the possibility of agreeing on an increase of rentals with the possibility of renewing their contracts for another 15 years.
Earlier, the Commission on Audit (COA) observed that the rentals being paid by the building owners within the city-owned property has been very dismal and very low compared to the rentals being paid by lessees in other privately-owned buildings and lots within the premises of the public market, thus, the city government must bid out the rentals to the properties in order to be able to get the most advantageous deal for the local government.
Under the agreement that was reached by the BCMA and the concerned building owners, the monthly rental per square meter will increase from P0.75 to P6.00 with a prescribed percentage of increase every 5 years and that their expired lease contracts will be renewed for another 15 years.
The agreement also stipulated that the improvements introduced by the building owners to the city property will either accrue to the city government after the expiration of the contract or the building owners could take such improvements in order to allow the city government to use the property for other productive purposes.
The concerned building owners appealed to the COA and the city government not to bid out the renting out of its properties because local residents who are deriving income from the operation of their structures will surely be deprived of such income because it will be the wealthy Chinese and Korean businessmen who will be able to win in the bidding process and take control of the city-owned properties in the market.
It was learned that the city government bidded out the city-owned lands within the public market for interested local residents wanting to develop the same in the 1970s and that the lease contract was only for 15 years, however, the local government was probably remised on its function to look after its property that allowed the renewal of such agreements over the past three decades allowing them to occupy the said areas for over 40 years now.
Domogan asserted that the renewal of the contract of the building owners for another 15 years will be the final renewal and that it will be the option of the building owners whether or not to turnover to the local government their improvements to the property or for them to take back whatever improvements that they have introduced.
The BCMA is set to confirm the agreement between the building owners and the city government for the possible final renewal of the lease contract over their buildings for another 15 years.
By Dexter A. See