Baguio council calls on Convention Center tenants

TENANTS of the Baguio Convention Center are being called during the June 6 regular session of the City Council to clarify agreements on the use of the facility.

The City Council decided to invite the tenants for legislative inquiry after an audit memorandum found several deficiencies and errors on the contracts of existing occupants or leaseholders.

The deficiencies were noted by Audit Leader Margie Bongait and Supervising Auditor Shalymar Garcia in Audit Observation Memorandum (AOM) 16-017 dated March 16, 2016. The audit team in Baguio found the memorandum of agreements entered by the city government with various occupants of the center was not authorized by the Sangguniang Panlungsod.

The memorandum cited Section 22 of the Local Government Code, which states that no contract may be entered into by the local chief executive in behalf of the LGU without prior authorization by the council concerned.

Occupants with existing MOA are the Securities and Exchange Commission, Smart Communications Inc., Regga Transport Contractors Inc., Baguio Rosario Van Operators Drivers Association and Garage Company (Baravoda) and, Baguio-Tayug Commuters Association Inc. (BTCAI).

But the audit team observed that based on documents, there were no prior authorization by the SP for the mayor to enter into contract with Smart, Regga Transport, BARAVODA and BTCAI contrary to the provisions of the local government code.

Also, the audit team noted there was no contract executed between the city and the occupants at the basement of BCC. Occupants at the basement based on COA inspection were: BTCAI for the use of office space but with no rental; and, Aloha Dance Studio with a monthly rental.

Other occupants at the basement of BCC have memorandum of understanding with the city government. These are Tribal Submission Philippines, Glorious Freedom Community Church, and Musar House of Music and Arts.

It was noted that rentals were paid by the occupants on a monthly basis based on existing MOU. The MOU is being accomplished together with the BCC reservation form for conventions, meetings, cultural shows, rehearsals and other activities by the leasing party.

“Review of documents showed that the above stated occupants requested for allocation of space at the BCC for their endeavors and are using the space regularly, thus the necessity of the execution of a contract and not a MOU,” the audit observation reads.

The audit team also found statement of accounts issued by the Baguio Tourism Office for Glorious Freedom and CMCI due to non-payment monthly rentals with a total amount of P130,000.

COA recommended for the city government to strictly adhere to the provisions of Tax Ordinance No. 095-95 and other related ordinances; institute measures on the collection of parking fees at the BCC to generate revenues which can be used in the improvement of the facility; consider regulating the entry and use of the BCC as parking area for public utility vehicles, vans and other public transport and assign security guards to secure the premises.

City Tourism Officer Benedicto Alhambra reasoned that when he took over the management of the BCC in 2004, there were no documents turned over to him.

However, vice mayor Edison Bilog noted most of the contracts have expired in 2014 and 2015 except for SEC, which contract was duly approved by the council.

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