CH’s satellite offices ‘need a new home’

Cebu City Hall
Cebu City HallImage from Google Street View

CEBU City Government satellite offices occupying the building owned by the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) located across the City Hall have less than 30 days to vacate the building.

The MCWD issued the final demand letter to the City Government during the first week of February giving the City 30 days to vacate the premises, according to MCWD board of directors chairman Jose Daluz III.

He said the decision was made by the management and the board after the water district and the City Government failed to reach an agreement on the monthly rent.

Daluz, in an interview Sunday, Feb. 18, 2024, said the management is preparing to bid out the two-story building to a leasing company.

Daluz said they have to process the bidding despite not receiving a response from the City Hall regarding the demand letter.

“We started (the process) already. We find it futile if we continue negotiating with them. It’s hard because they are making their own process,” said Daluz.

But City Administrator Collin Rosell, in an interview on Sunday, said he has yet to receive a letter from the MCWD, asking them to leave the building.

“No, I have not received (a letter),” said Rosell.

Meanwhile, Daluz said the leasing company will manage the building’s rental.

He said several businesses have shown interest to rent the space, including a coffee shop, a retail store, and government office.

“To maximize the property, we will bid it to a leasing company who will then be dealing with the tenants,” he said.

He said the water district has yet to come up with the rates it is going to set for the bidding, adding that they are taking into consideration the prescribed formula of the Commission on Audit, Land Bank of the Philippines appraisal and a private firm offering appraisal services.

The last time a retail store rented the building, the monthly lease was around P400,000.

Daluz said they are looking at a higher price.

In a previous report of SunStar Cebu, Daluz said the water district could have earned more than P3 million if the City had paid the monthly rent since July 2023.

Daluz said such income would have been used to procure water.

Based on the Facebook post of the Cebu City News and Information Office, the City opened the satellite office in July 2023.

In earlier reports of SunStar Cebu, Rosell said all offices under the executive department that were housed in the legislative building, but are not policy-determining offices, were housed in the satellite office.

These included the Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor and the City Hospitalization Assistance Management Program, and offices offering social services.

On May 26, 2023, the MCWD sent the lease contract to the Office of the Mayor. The water district’s board earlier passed a resolution that approved the proposal to set the monthly rent at P700,000, and allow the MCWD general manager to negotiate with the City.

However, MCWD said it received an email from the mayor’s office on July 24 containing the City’s counterproposal of P200,000 for the monthly rent, which was conveyed through lawyer John Michael Lequigan.

Despite failing to agree on the lease rates, Daluz said the water district “tolerated” the City’s stay in the MCWD-owned building without paying any rent.

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama replaced MCWD board members Daluz, Miguelito Pato and Jodelyn May Seno last Oct. 31 with Melquiades Feliciano, Aristotle Batuhan and Nelson Yuvallos. But Daluz, Pato and Seno have refused to step down from their posts.

Feliciano is the chairman of the Rama-appointed board.


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