City to review convention center contracts

THE Baguio City Council nitpicked observations of a recent Commission on Audit observation on the Baguio Convention Center in a bid to put into place its operations.

It was in March when Margie Bongait, Audit Team Leader of COA Baguio and Shalymar Garcia, Supervising Auditor of COA-Baguio reported flaws in the management as well as operations of the BCC.

Present during Monday’s regular session were City Administrator Carlos Canilao, City Treasurer Antonio Tabin, City Tourism Officer Benedicto Alhambra, City Legal Officer Atty. Melchor Rabanes and leases of the BCC.

The local council agreed to ask the mayor to furnish the legislative body the copies of contracts, which need confirmation to be able to legalize matters in the BCC.

Council members probed on the exact area which the city owns in the former Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) property to which Calinao admitted to be at a loss to where the city should place perimeter fences.

Calinao said there is a standing order from the mayor to survey the property to be able to determine city owned parameters of the lot.

The Bongait report revealed the contract between the city government and leaseholders have not been authorized by the local council, which is a requirement to make valid all agreements in the area.

Alhambra said SMART Telecommunications does not have a Memorandum of Agreement with the city because of transitions in top-level management of company as well as revisions in the proposed agreement which have been forwarded to the city budget and legal office.

Alhambra added the lease contracts missing have already been forwarded to local council for confirmation.

The COA likewise noted there is no contract between the City Government and the occupants at the basement of the BCC to which Alhambra explained the basement of the BCC is uninhabitable because of dilapidation and sewer problems.

Parking at the BCC has also posed as problem and the COA report reflected from the non - compliance of the BAROVODA AND BCTAI transport groups on terms and conditions of the existing agreement. The COA said both groups have exceeded the parking slots provided in the original agreement with both being provided five slots each but occupying 10 and 11 slots apiece.

Alhambra said the parking slots being used by the transport groups were agreed to be eight slots “but there are instances that parking of the said companies have exceeded the allotment. This matter has been observed by the BCC management and many times their attention was called regarding this however since most of the drivers take their rest in the area it has also become an area of convergence to coordinate the schedules or trip responsibilities.”

Alhambra said the vehicles of the transport groups do not park for more than thirty minutes, which will make monitoring impossible.
COA also noted there is a non-collection of parking fees from the BCC which robs the city of revenue which can be used to improve the facility.

Alhambra explained there are many government offices in the BCC and most of the parking slots occupied can be of clients form these offices.

“The responsibility of classifying vehicles to whether they are parking to visit offices in the BCC or just there to park their cars is not within the manpower of the BCC and is a tedious task of a parking marshal, security guard or parking attendant,” added Alhambra.

The city acquired the BCC from the 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.

Previously Mayor Mauricio Domogan ordered the office for administration and the city tourism office to reconstruct missing lease contracts of lessees of the BCC to continue its operation as well as serve as a basis for payment of City Services.

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