CEBU

Nalzaro: ‘Win-win solution’

Saksi

ASIDE from having no authority from the City Council, the Mandaue City Government now claims that the contract entered into between Cenore, owner of Big Hotel, and the previous administration was disadvantageous to the City Government. Cenore, which was given a deed of assignment by sister-company Katumanan Hardware Inc. rented the 1.4-hectare property where Big Hotel now stands at P12 per square meter, or P170,000 a month. The original contract was signed by then mayor Jonas Cortes and the Katumanan management for a lease contract for 15 years. But when Cenore took over, this was extended to 25 years without council authority.

Now, some people are saying the “contract” was disadvantageous to the City. That is, if we based the current fair market value of the developed properties. However, if we based it on those years when the contract was signed, we cannot conclude that the contract was disadvantageous to the City.

In 2007, that property was practically a muddy place that was converted into a garbage dumpsite and occupied by illegal settlers. In fact, after two years of paying rental to the Mandaue City government, the stakeholders of Katumanan thought of giving up the property because they were losing. However, they were challenged and developed the area into a commercial center.

They relocated 76 families to the back portion of the leased property on condition that they would relocate to another place after three years. The management cleaned the dump site, installed the drainage system, rehabilitated and turned the abandoned warehouse into a usable warehouse. Cenore Corp. complied with the term of lease that required a minimum investment of P90 million by investing P250 million in what is now the Big Hotel. Cenore leased the area, while the hotel is managed and operated by its subsidiary Travelbee, which operates a chain of hotels and pension houses in the city.

In 2015, Cenore sought the assistance of the Mandaue City Housing and Urban Development Office (Hudo) and the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP) regarding the relocation of the 76 families. Fifty-three families had agreed to be relocated to Consolacion and were provided with P20,000 in financial assistance per family. The remaining 24 families began to engage in swindling by selling their “rights” for P50,000. In fact, a leader of the squatters’ group was arrested for swindling. The management went to court for eviction. In September 2016, the Mandaue City Regional Trial Court Branch 56 rendered a decision favoring Cenore. The final judgment came out in August 2018.

Some city officials claimed that it was Cenore, which “forced” the remaining residents to vacate the place, when it was by virtue of a court order. The management followed the tedious legal process before it reached to that point of eviction. When the squatters occupied the property, did the City Government receive anything from them in terms of rentals? Nothing.

Questions: If the lease contract between Cenore and Cortes was “defective from the very start,” why did the present administration issue building and occupancy permits to Cenore and Travelbee? Why did it accept rentals and other taxes due to the City Government? Why did it issue annual business and mayor’s permits? And why is it still operating despite the closure order? If it defies the order, by all means the City can use its police power to force the establishment to close shop.

And why did the Office of the Mayor immediately implement a closure order last Feb. 26 when the show-cause order issued last Feb. 11 to Travelbee gave the respondent 30 days to comply with all documentary requirements.

Under the contract, all properties and improvements worth millions on the lot will go to the City Government when the contract expires. If it is disadvantageous to the present situation because the area is now fully developed, by all means, correct it now.

You know all these things can be “compromised.” If the government can compromise on tax evasion and smuggling, which are criminal cases, by imposing penalties and other fines, why can’t this issue also be compromised? It is not too late to “correct” the contract and come up with a “win-win solution.” We can’t deny the fact that Cenore provides employment to a lot of Mandauehanons.

Kung ipasira na, unsa may makuha sa Mandaue? Nagtuo kaha mo nga mangapriso nang mga nahilambigit ana? Pero kung mopatigbabaw ang pamulitika sa Mandaue, aw, daghang mga inosente ang mapagan. Eleksiyon man god. Isig dautay ba? Tan-awa inig human sa eleksiyon, mahilum ra ning tanan. Ang nakanindot kay mag-uliay ra sa maayong kabubut-on kanang mga pulitiko nga nag-away karon. Pagkatoytoy.


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