Distrito inquires on 'illegal sale' of gov’t property-A A +A
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
A COUNCILOR of Bacolod City has asked several local government offices to explain the alleged illegal sale of a government property in the Reclamation Area to the Bacolod Baywalk who is now operating without ECC and business permit, including collection fee from its customers.
Councilor Caesar Distrito, through a resolution, inquired from the City Legal Office, Assessor's Office, Office of the Building Officials, ENRO, City Engineer's Office and the Permits and Licensing Division through the Office of the City Mayor as well as CENRO and the DENR –EMB regarding the sale and is waiting for corresponding actions to the City Council within 15 days.
The Bacolod Baywalk had its grand opening last February 14, 2013 which was celebrated with several events that lasted until February 16, 2013.
Since its opening, speculations rose up regarding the ownership of the establishment and its operation which came to being all of a sudden.
Upon inquiry, the Permits and Licensing Division of the City made it clear that Bacolod Baywalk did not secure a Business Permit for their operation.
However, the operator of the establishment, Almana Property Development Corporation, through its legal counsel Atty. Dennis Cortez, claimed that they have secured their Business Permit from the City of Bacolod.
The former Division Head of the Permits and Licensing Division also claimed that the Business Permit that they are referring to is the one with the declared address located at #23 Lacson Extension St., Brgy. Sincang-Airport, this City and not the one which is located at BREDCO and is within the jurisdiction of Barangay 12.
The Permits and Licensing Division told the management of Bacolod Baywalk to apply for a new Business Permit and should indicate in their application that they will charge toll fees or entrance fees, kiosks rental and the serving of food and beverages inside their establishment.
It was also found out that Bacolod Baywalk, in anyway, did not secure an ECC (Environmental Compliance Certificate) nor a CNC (Certificate of No Compliance) from the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) which is supposed to be necessary, given the nature of their operation.
The Office of the Building Official and the Permits and Licensing Division had in fact served a Notice of Violation to the management of Bacolod Baywalk.
The City Government, through its City Legal Officer Atty. Joselito T. Bayatan, also questioned the operation of Bacolod Baywalk because he claimed that the road being closed is a property of the City.
Given the points raised by the City Legal Officer, queries with regard to the legality of the ownership of Almana Property Development Corporation were also brought up and how the purchase of the said property was done and who was the private entity that sold the property to them.
Based on the Comprehensive Revised Reclamation Agreement and the Tripartite Agreement, it was stipulated in those agreements that all road lots in the Reclamation area belongs to the City and therefore cannot be sold, same with the port, in which the Bacolod Baywalk is currently situated, is also a property of the City Government of Bacolod, and whatever sale made by a private entity to another, without the prior knowledge and consent of the City Government, is therefore illegal.
The Office of the Building Official had also asserted that aside from the failure of the management to secure Business Permit, they also failed to secure Building Permit, given that buildings will soon be constructed in the area as provided in the plans, in the brochures and tarpaulins that were made by the management.
Distrito’s resolution seeks to get accurate facts and figures from the concerned City Government Departments relating to the operation of Bacolod Baywalk.
Distrito said this is also to ensure that businesses operating in the City of Bacolod are legal and complies with the provisions of the existing laws and City Ordinances. (CNC)
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on March 13, 2013.