BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan said that the local government supports the proposed conversion of the Maharlika Livelihood Center into one of the creative hubs in the city to serve as a display area of creative crafts by artists and other stakeholders.
The city chief executive claimed that the Maharlika Livelihood Center is an ideal display center for the different crafts of local artists and artisans considering its strategic location right at the heart of the central business district area but the city government needs to fine tune its position on the matter considering the presence of liquor establishments in portions of the facility currently under the administration of the Human Settlements Development Corporation (HSDC).
“We did not allow the operators of liquor establishments in the area to renew their business permits this year because of a standing agreement they will change their lines of business, however, the operators of the liquor establishments went to the local legislative body and questioned the supposed conflict between the city’s zoning and tax ordinances and this must be resolved by the said body before we can act on the permanent stoppage of their operations in the building,” Domogan stressed.
He added he is only awaiting the decision of the local legislative body on the request for extension of the liquor establishments so he can align his action with the decision of the local legislators.
According to him, it is will be the position of the local legislators that will be implemented so at this point, there is no ground for blaming him on the continuous operation of the liquor establishments in some portions of the Maharlika Livelihood Center.
Earlier, the affected liquor establishments petitioned the members of the local legislative body to first reconcile the conflicting provisions of existing tax and zoning ordinances on the operation of business establishments in some portions of the Maharlika Livelihood Center to clear what business can be allowed in the Maharlika Livelihood Center.
Under the city’s tax ordinance, the Maharlika Livelihood Center is part of the city public market wherein the serving of liquor is prohibited but under the city’s zoning ordinance, the operation of liquor establishments in the area is allowed.
The local legislative body is currently deliberating on the merits of the petition of liquor establishments, especially on whether the requested extension of their operation will be allowed, considering that their permits to operate already expired and that the local chief executive did not allow the renewal of their permits for this year. Domogan urged the local legislative body to fastrack their decision on the matter so that the affected liquor establishment owners can decide on whether or not to change their line of business to conform with the new designation of Baguio City as part of the Creative Cities Network of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for crafts and folk arts which must be sustained within a 4-year period prior to assessment.
By Dexter A. See
Banner photo by: Armando M. Bolislis