AS THE ultimatum of Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez lapsed on Friday, September 30, 2022, only two of the 17 stall owners at the Manokan Country with existing arrears have minimal payments.

Councilor Celia Matea Flor, chairman of the Sangguniang Panlungsod Committee on Markets and Slaughter house, said Sunday that it will be up to the City Legal Office to decide on them.

Flor clarified that Benitez did not say that he is asking the vendors to make full payments of their dues or their stalls will be closed.

“I talked to him and he said that they need (vendors) to have a substantial payment,” she said, adding that the city may enter into a compromise agreement with the stall owners allowing them to pay their dues until December this year.

As of Sunday, of the P8.6 million arrears, the stall owners were already able to pay P1.5 million, city’s records showed.

With this, Flor said that most likely, no closure of stalls will take place.

Manokan Country Vendors Association (MCVA) President David Montoya told SunStar Bacolod said that they are hoping that their appeal for an extension to settle their dues will be granted.

“We have been paying diligently but we learned that the payment we had only covered the interest (of the principal debt),” Montoya said.

Asked if they are amenable if the city will enter into a public private partnership agreement for the management of Manokan Country, he said, they are yet to discuss the matter.

On Friday, Benitez gave his final ultimatum to the Manokan Country vendors to settle their arrears.

“As what I’ve said, if they fail to pay their arrears then they will be closed,” he said.

For those who are paying on a staggered basis, he said that it will depend on how much they have already paid.

Manokan Country is a row of restaurants selling grilled foods, especially the famous Bacolod chicken inasal, is situated on a city-owned property at the Reclamation Area right across SM City Bacolod. (with reports from Merlinda A. Pedrosa)