Bacolod Mayor Monico Puentevella directed the City Treasurer yesterday to look into the claims of the tenants of the Manokan Country that they have been regularly paying their rental fees through the collectors of the CTO and have no arrearages with the city.
Manokan County Vendors Association vice president Elizabeth Baker had claimed that they been paying their rentals on a daily basis through a collector they have requested from the city.
Baker said they were surprised to learn that their arrearages have not diminished when they have been paying regularly for several years. She said she had paid close to P300,000 to the collector and had been issued receipts by the CTO.
They only learned about this when they were informed that they have arrearages and discovered that their payments were not recorded, she said.
City Treasurer Giovanni Balalihe said the collector named by the Manokan Country tenants has already been recalled to the CTO and is no longer collecting rental fees. He said he is gathering documents and evidences on their complaint because he only has newspaper reports now.
Puentevella asked if they have receipts as proof of payment. He said they will have their records reviewed compare through with the city's records. But he added that the Manokan Country tenants have arrearages amounting to about P6.5 million.
He said he has directed Balalilhe to investigate the matter.
He said that he met with them with City Administrator Rolando Villamor last year but they did not complain. Only three tenants have no accounts with the city, he said.
The officers of the Manokan Country Vendors Association said they oppose the plan of the city to relocate them to the area behind the BAYS Center, or in Purok Cambodia at the Reclamation Area in Bacolod City.
They said they are in favor of renovating or improving the Manokan Country but not its privatization. But if the city will push through with its plans and have the Manokan Country up for auction, they hope to join the public bidding.
Baker appealed to Puentevella to only renovate the Manokan Country and not have it sold or leased.
If the mayor pursues his plans to renovate the Manokan Country and remove them, they will seek a temporary restraining order from the Court, newly elected MCVA president David Montoya said.
Montoya said that if given a chance, they also plan to seek the help of the President when he comes.
Puentevella told them not to threaten him because he cannot be intimidated.
The City Appraisal Committee convened Wednesday to determine the market value of the 1.3 hectares property at the Reclamation Area that houses the Manokan Country and Vendor's Plaza.
SM Prime Holdings Inc. has proposed to purchase the 13,783 square meter property at Rizal Street, Road Lot 4 and Burgos Street at the Reclamation Area in Bacolod City that houses the Manokan Country and the Vendor's Plaza including an adjacent parking area.*CGS
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