BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan ordered the office for administration and the city tourism office to immediately reconstruct the reported missing lease contracts of lessees of the Baguio Convention Center in order for the city government to have the basis for the collection of rentals pursuant to recommendations from government auditors.
The local chief executive issued the directive after some members of the city council questioned the administrators of the city-owned convention facility on the reported missing memoranda of agreement of lessees which had not been confirmed by the local legislative body.
“There is no problem about the request of the city council because the concerned offices can just reconstruct the reported missing memoranda of agreement with the lessees and subsequently submit such documents to the council for confirmation in order for us to have available records for future references,” Domogan stressed.
Earlier, the city council summoned officials of the Office for Administration and the City Tourism Office to answer queries in relation to the findings of the Commission on Audit (COA) on the reported missing lease contracts of long-term lessees of the Baguio Convention Center.
The city mayor said he does not want that the city accounting office will again hold the payment of power bills of the Baguio Convention Center because of alleged incomplete documents of the lessees that trace back to the previous administration which would again jeopardize the use of the facility by various government agencies and private organizations for their functions.
It can be recalled that the Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) temporarily cut off the power supply of the Baguio Convention Center late last year after the city government failed to settle its over P800,000 accumulated power bills for the convention facility after the city accounting office refused to pay the power bills due to reported missing lease contracts that were later on presented by the administrators of the city-owned property.
Mayor Domogan explained that there is a need for the administrators of the Baguio Convention Center to make sure that they are able to safeguard the important documents governing the administration, operation and maintenance of the property so that similar problems that would crop up in the future could be immediately addressed without compromising the services offered by the facility.
The city government acquired the Baguio Convention Center from the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) through the local government’s accumulated share from the privatization of the 247-hectare John Hay Special Economic Zone (JHSEZ) that was lodged with the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).
In 2004, the city used its P50 million share from BCDA to pay the downpayment for the acquisition of the property but the previous city administrations failed to work on it until 2012 when the city used up a total of P317 million to fully pay its remaining obligations and interests to allow the local government to eventually own the property.
By Dexter A. See