By ADELA DEYAEN WAYAS
BAGUIO CITY — Affected parties of the demolition of Block 3 at the City Public Market asked in a letter for the city Commission on Audit to audit the development project taking place in the area.
Leonora Guinid, authorized representative and one of the group leaders of the Hilltop Open Market Vendors Credit and Services Cooperative (HOMVESCO), said they had forwarded their request to the city Auditor February 21, 2011.
Guinid said it was not stated in the Annual Investment Plan for the year 2009 that the P18.5 million fund was for the development of Block 3 but for the whole market development. She said this was stated in the Ordinance Number 39 Series of 2009 by the Sangguniang Panglungsod.
“The ordinance did not specify that the budget was for Block III,” Guinid pointed out. But in the contract entered into by then Mayor Reinaldo Bautista Jr. and Ernie Baggao it indicated the market development and written in parenthesis was Block III.
Guinid believes, “This is falsification of documents.” There is even a rule of the Commission on Audit which says investment plans should specify to where the funds would be used and not in generic terms, she said.
Guinid said if the office of the city Auditor would not audit it and furnish them copies they are going to elevate their issue to the national office of Commission on Audit (COA).
According to her, they were able to secure an injunction bond for the Block III and IV, however, the city continued to demolish the Block III. She said they even posted a one million peso bond for the whole city market. The case is still pending at the Court of Appeals, she said, so they did not withdraw their injunction bond. “Despite the pending case, why did they demolish,” Guinid said.
She said the government should make a census of the vendors before any demolition or submission of plans, she stressed.
We are ready to lobby for our rights if they will still demolish Block IV while the case is still pending in court, she pointed out.
Meanwhile, Guinid told this reporter of some alledged irregularities in the city market under the Uniwide Development Corporation bid. She said the Uniwide did not post the bond of 3% of the total cost of development (of the market). Uniwide has no plans or specifications for the market development, she added On this, then Councilor Ed Bilog, Sr. passed a resolution to cancel the contract with the Uniwide. Moreover, she noted that realty tax exemption was given to Uniwide.
“These are grave anomalies,” she claimed.
Guinid clarified that they are not anti-development, however, it should be done with due process and with respect for human rights. She said there should be a social aspect in the development.
The Court of Appeals according to Guinid might be releasing their decision on the case by March or April. # nordis.net