COA to Manila: Pursue legal action against non-paying public market developers

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by Allan Yves Briones

According to the 2018 annual audit report of the Commission on Audit (COA), the developers of six city-owned public markets had continuously defaulted in the payment of shares and penalties amounting to P22.41 million.

This, despite repeated demands from the Management of the aforementioned joint venture projects (JVP), effectively “depriving the city of immediate utilization of the fund to finance its priority programs and projects.”

According to the same report, the city government of Manila entered into joint venture agreements (JVA) with three private corporations for the development of its public markets.

Source: 2018 Annual Audit Report on the City of Manila

Under the JVA, the developers are to remit to the city its share in the revenues of the projects. In case of late payment, according to Section, interests will accrue at the yearly rate of 12%.

The state auditing agency’s investigation showed that only the BMEDC was able to remit the city’s share for the first year of operation amounting to P1.56 million. However, the same developer also failed to remit any amount for the second year.

According to the report, the city treasurer had already sent demand letters to the developers to no avail. The commission then recommended that the office seek the assistance of the City Legal Office to discuss which legal measures or actions to take against the offending developers.