BAGUIO CITY – The local legislative body is inclined to recommend the possible consolidation of all existing contracts entered by the local government with JARCO Realty and Development Corporation for the lease of a city-owned lot in the former burned area that was developed to host the multi-story Baguio Center Mall.
The recommendation of the local legislative body was espoused by Councilor Faustino A. Olowan, chairman of the City Council Committee on Laws, after having received an endorsement from the City Mayor’s Office for the confirmation of a supplemental agreement between the local government and the said developer for the inclusion of three vacant lots in the area that will be developed by the company for a 15-year period.
Juanito Teope of JARCO Realty Development Corporation explained to local legislators that the area covered by the supplemental agreement was supposed to be part of the area to be leased to the company but the same did not push through because the said lots, having a total land area of 666 square meters, was the subject of a long standing case that was just recently resolved by the court in favour of the city.
He added that the company proposes to build a structure in the area covered by the 3 lots to be leased to the displaced vendors for them to sustain their sources of livelihood and which will simultaneously expire with the original contract it entered with the local government.
However, local legislators raised the issue on the street that was taken by the company and introduced developments over the same that virtually closed the supposed street, arguing the fact that it is only the local legislative body that is empowered to close streets.
However, Teope claimed that the supposed street that the company took had never existed as a street as certified by the City Engineering office that is why improvements in the said area were legitimate from the start.
Local legislators deferred action on the supplemental agreement between the local government and the developer to await the recommendation of the Committee on Laws on the possible consolidation of all the similar contracts so that issues and concerns arising from the said instruments could be easily addressed.
Teope informed local legislators that the original contract that JARCO entered with the local government will expire after 15 years thus the company is still interested to pursue the development of these lots so that it will be able to use the same for the benefit of the displaced vendors in the area for the duration of the contract period.
He asserted that the local government was not able to completely deliver to the developer the total area that it is supposed to convert into a mall because of alleged encroachments on the government property by neighboring private lot owners that have to be ironed out to date so that the company could have maximized its potential use for business purposes.
By Dexter A. See