City awaiting proposal of Rillera building vendors

BAGUIO CITY August 29 – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan said the local government will be awaiting the proposal of the fish vendors occupying the old Rillera building before coming out with the appropriate measures to takeover the property for whatever applicable use that it could decide in the future.

The local chief executive expressed his appreciation to the gesture of the affected fish vendors led by Esther Brillantes in not filing the necessary motion for reconsideration on the recent ruling of the Supreme Court (SC) that upheld the position of the local government to close the Rillera building because of the failure of the vendors to complete the structure and to allow the conduct of sanitation activities among others to make the building suitable for occupancy.

"We will wait for the decision to attain finality before we will proceed with whatever available options while considering the proposals of the fish vendors who already signified their intention to comply with the ruling of the high tribunal," Domogan stressed.

He added that city officials are willing to sit down with the affected fish vendors for them to discuss the merits of their proposal pursuant to the SC decision and considering their concerns that they will raise for the mutual benefit of both parties considering the outcome of the 11-year old case.

Domogan explained that the fish vendors will be treated similar to the way market vendors are being treated by the local governments in terms of their obligations in terms of the payment of the necessary fees in occupying their existing stalls.

He directed City Treasurer Alex Cabarrubias to make the necessary computations on the accumulated rentals of the fish vendors who have occupied the Rillera building since 1975 and for him to ascertain whether or not the group of fish vendors were able to settle their 25,000 annual lease rentals to the city for the 25-year term of the lease agreement that should have expired in 1999.

Earlier, the SC ruled that the order of former Mayor Braulio Yaranon to close the operation of the Rillera building to allow the local government to improve and sanitize the structure after previous findings that there were some alleged defects in the second and third floors of the building that was built in 1974 purposely through a build-operate and transfer scheme.

The High Court also held that the contract entered into by the local government and the hilltop Fish Market Vendors Association in 1974 was binding from the start and that the condition stating among others that the association shall start paying the agreed lease rental of P25,000 annually only after the City Engineering office shall have issued the occupancy permit was not a primary condition of the agreement but it was only a condition for the payment of the lease rentals, thus, the association could not invoke the non-issuance of the occupancy permit as a primary condition for the 25-year old lease agreement.

The Rillera building is occupying a 568-square meter city-owned lot within the city public market that is serving as the fish market pursuant to the 25-year old lease agreement entered into between the city and the group of market vendors.

By Dexter A. See

 
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Speech Delivered by Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan during the Cordillera Month Closing Ceremony
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