By ALDWIN QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — Stall owners in the Slaughter Compound in Barangay Sto. Niño trooped to the Baguio City Hall to air their sentiments after the Office of the City Treasurer pursued the bidding out of their stalls to other renters, after they have made agreements with the City Government on their continued tenancy.
A stall owner who requested not to be named said that in a dialogue at the Baguio City Council on December 1 last year, they struck an agreement regarding their unpaid rentals with the Baguio City Market Authority (BCMA) where City Treasurer Alicia Onoza was present.
She said that the stall owners who have standing accounts with the Treasurer’s office promised to pay their dues on installment basis and may continue the occupancy of their stalls.
She said that as far as she remembers, Onoza agreed to this settlement.
She said they were surprised when they received notices on July 22 saying that there will a bidding out of their stalls at the Baguio City Hall. According to her, the notices were dated July 8 and the bidding was on July 23 at the Baguio City Multipurpose Hall.
She revealed that the City Treasurer’s Office even put on bid the stalls whose rent were already fully or partially paid by the present occupants. She said that in her case, she was more than willing to settle her dues and that she already paid in tranches in accordance to what was agreed upon on December 1.
She said however that the treasurer’s office refused to accept her latest payment because according to the staff, the City Treasurer ordered that it must now be paid in full.
“Binigyan po ako ng demand letter at sinabi na magbayad ako ng P81,000; sinabi ko na ang kaya kong ibigay ay 10% muna at dahil yun din naman ang pinag-usapan noong December 1, pero kinuhanan pa rin ako ng P10,000. Pero nung March na magbabayad na naman ako ay hindi na po tinanggap dahil sinabi po ni Ma’am Onoza iba na daw ang arrangement at dapat in full na yung bayad, (I was given a demand letter and was advised to pay P81,000; I said that I can only give 10% at the moment and that is also according to what we agreed upon on December 1, but they still managed to get P10,000 from me. But on March when I was supposed to pay again, they did not accept my payment and told me that I should now pay the full amount of P81,000, because there was a new arrangement)” she said.
According to tenant Benito Ramos, not all of them have the same livelihood and the same capacity to pay the stall rentals. He said that some are lucky they have some other sources to pay the rent, and some of them are merely depending on their small stalls.
He said all they are asking is for more consideration from the City Treasurer as they are really looking for means to settle their dues.
He said that they are worried now that their stalls were bidded out to new renters. He said that this means their only source of income is already in limbo.
During the dialogue, the tenants were advised by Vice Mayor Edison Bilog to negotiate with the winning bidders. He said it is better that they contact the supposed new occupants and arrive to an agreement in settling their issues of occupancy.
In another dialogue at the Council Session Hall on Wednesday with the BCMA headed by Baguio City Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan, the mayor gave the tenants the same advise.
Meanwhile, Baguio City Councilor Peter Fianza said that there is an existing ordinance in the City Council, which he made amendments on, that prohibits the bidding of stalls not yet vacated or which there are still occupants in.
He said that this is to avoid conflicts over the bidded stalls.
Fianza added that the remedy the tenants can do aside from negotiating with the winning bidders is to wait for the resolution of adjudication.
He said that they can file an appeal at the City Hall 30 days after the issuance of the said resolution. #nordis.net