Building owners given deadline to sign contracts

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BAGUIO CITY  – The local government has given building owners in the city public market and other city-owned properties in the central business district area ninety days to sign the renewal of their final 15-year contract for the continuous operation of their businesses.

City Treasurer Alex Cabarrubias informed members of the local legislative body that Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan already gave final notice to the concerned building owners that they have 90 days from May 28, 2017, to renew their contracts for their leased premises for the final 15 years or else the building owners must vacate the premises including removing their structures.

He explained the decision of the local government to impose the deadline was an offshoot of the findings of the Commission on Audit (COA) on the alleged disadvantageous contracts entered into by the local government regarding the utilization of city-owned lands and that the rentals being paid by the building owners are way below the prevailing rentals in similarly situated structures privately owned within the central business district area.

Of the 127 building owners having lease contracts with the local government, Cabarrubias revealed 81 building owners decided to renew their contracts with the local government with the condition that after the lapse of the 15-year agreement, the buildings and all other improvements in the areas that they currently occupy will automatically become the properties of the city,  while 46 building owners refuse to renew their contracts since they want the assailed provision of the contract to be removed, particularly the one that provides that the city will own all the improvements after the lapse of 15 years.

From the previous P0.75 per square meter per day rental of the occupied areas by the building owners, Cabarrubias claimed the building owners and the City Mayor agreed to increase the rentals to P6 per square meter per day for the final 15 years of the lease over their occupied parcels of the city-owned lands.

The renewed contracts of the lessees of the city-owned properties are now pending confirmation before the local legislative body so that the final 15-year agreement will be in full force and effect.

It will be recalled that the local government invited the building owners sometime in the early 1970s to help develop the city-owned properties located within the vicinity of the city public market to help spur economic growth and provide adequate employment to residents, and under the first contract, the building owners were required to turn over to the city all improvements after the lapse of their contracts.

However, the 15-year timeframe of the contract was allegedly removed from the second and third renewal of the contract, thus, city officials were constrained to return the said provision after receiving the COA findings and recommendations.

Cabarrubias asserted after the lapse of the 15-year period of the contract, the building owners shall have occupied the city-owned lands for at least 60 years that would mean that they were able to already recover their expenses in the put up of their structures.

By Dexter A. See

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