By NITZ ARANCON
THE city council, as a committee of the whole, is set to start to look into the contracts between the local government and companies that have been leasing parts of the city’s biggest public markets, including the Agora terminal.
Councilors would also review city hall’s contract for the lease of the city slaughterhouse in Cugman.
The decision is an offshoot of Councilor Edgar Cabanlas’s special report last week and call for the city’s legislature to do something about what he described as contracts disadvantagous to the city government that past city hall officials signed.
Cabanlas said that if possible, city hall’s contracts with 858 Market Complex Inc., Unitop General Merchandising Inc. and the Mega Integrated Agro-Livestocks Farm Corp., should be rescinded.
The firm 858 leases parts of Cogon market while Unitop is the lessee of parts of Carmen market.
Mega Farm, meanwhile, turned the public market in Lapasan into what is now known as the Market City even as it operates the Agora bus terminal through a 25-year build-operate-transfer contract made in 2009. The same group was awarded a contract for the operation of the city slaughterhouse.
“Kon gusto sila nga magnegosyo dinhi sa Cagayan de Oro, maghimo sila’g ilang kaugalingong mall, dili kay diha sila mag-okopar sa atong mga merkado,” Cabanlas said.
Mega Farm is owned by the Sees, a prominent Chinese Filipino family behind Ororama. The firms 858 and Unitop are reportedly owned by Chinese businessmen.
Cabanlas said the city-owned markets should be returned to market vendors even as he pointed out disparities in how much city hall has been collecting as rent from the companies and from lowly vendors.
“Diha lang sa Cogon market, ang plite sa 858 ngadto sa city hall, P15 per square meter every month. Pero ang kabus nga mga vendors, nag-plite sa P15 per square meter a day,” said Cabanlas.
He said 858 pays city hall some P700 thousand a month for the lease of Cogon market’s second level. He said that for the same space leased out to vendors, city hall earns some P1.850 million a month.
Cabanlas accused 858 of breach of contract, pointing out that the agreement was for the firm to provide eight elevators.
“Wala may elevator, escalator ra may ilang gibutang diha,” he said.
Cabanlas said all the contracts need to be scrutinized so that councilors would see the anomalies and so the mistakes could be rectified.
He said the city council should also pass an ordinance that would prevent a repeat of the mistakes in future deals.
Cabanlas said the city council would summon the owners of the firms so they could answer questions about the contracts.