The memorandum of agreement between the Bacolod Citygovernment and the Bacolod Real Estate Development Corp. for the operation of the city port by the latter for another 25 years, was again slammed yesterday by Rep. Stephen Paduano (AbangLingkod) who called it “grossly disadvantageous”.
The city government could have earned far more than what was agreed upon, he said.
He said the 5 percent collection of the Philippine Port Authority from the BREDCOport in 2016 was P57 million and P62 million plus in 2017.
The PPA is just an agency of government tasked to regulate ports in the country, while the city government is the rightful owner of the port yet it agreed to an annual compensation of only P6 million, he said.
“The P6 million is a drop in the bucket, it is grossly disadvantageous to the city,”Paduano said.
“This is a total sell out,” he said.
He also asked if the city government is still talking to lawyer Sammy Palanca as the rightful operator of the BREDCO port that he heard is now being operated by Puregold.
Paduano said he may seek a congressional inquiry on the BREDCO contract with the city government in aid of legislation, or deliver a privilege speech on the matter at the House of Representatives.
Asked if he will run for mayor of Bacolod, Padunao said he has not decided on 2019 yet, he may run as a partylist representative or may not run at all. However, he also did not rule out running for a post in Bacolod City.
“I might run in Bacolod because I am a true blooded Bacolodnon,” he said, although he admitted that for now he is still a registered voter in Barangay 2 of EBMagalona town.
City Legal Officer JoselitoBayatan, in response to Paduano, said “We don't have the documents to verify the allegations of Cong. Paduano about the P57 million or P62 million that BREDCO paid to PPA. But if payment is to be considered, then it must be about the cost or expenses incurred by BREDCO.”
He said they cannot find any logical connection between the P6million compensation given by BREDCO to the City of Bacolod and the enormous sum mentioned by Paduano because the former was based on the net income earned by BREDCO, which may entail its affordability to pay such compensation.
The alleged payment made to PPA may be a component of expenditures that when applied to the gross income of BREDCO, then the net income may yet be determined, he said.
It is illogical to compare expenditures and net income as determinative of compensation, Bayatan said.
COMPENSATION SET IN CRRA
The matter of compensation has been embodied in the Comprehensive Revised Reclamation Agreement (CRRA) in 1995, where the City will be given by BREDCO a port with a total 2,000 linear meter with a width of 25 meters or a total of five hectares without any single centavo expended by the city, he said.
“The only thing that BREDCO requires as a consideration is to operate and manage the port for 25 years and another extension of 25 years, the latter period having been granted by the City to BREDCO in the 1995 CRRA,” Bayatan said.
That is a provision in the contract that the city has to respect, he said.
“The compensation is in the consideration of the basic principle of mutuality of contracts, in that, BREDCO and the City are considered to have been mutually benefited. While the City is given for free a five-hectare port, then BREDCO must also be mutually benefited by its operation and management of the port and the matter of compensation can be considered as part of the additional mutual benefit given by BREDCO to the City,” Bayatan said.
The Courthas already declared that the City has to respect the CRRA in favor of BREDCO, he said, pointing out that the decision was made final and executory during the term of then mayor MonicoPuentevella sometime in August 2013.
For fairness under the spirit of mutual benefits and in consonance with the mutuality of contracts, BREDCO expects to be fairly compensated or to recover its investment in the reclamation project particularly in giving a port to the City of Bacolod free of charge, he said.
Thus, the compensation still in favor of the City may be well understood under this circumstance, and not to be mistaken as rental, he added.*CPG
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