The City Council has pressed on the Areza-Cruz Realty Development Corporation to deliver on its commitment to constructing a new public market building as reflected in its agreement with the city government.
Councilor Nesario Awat, chairman of the legal matters committee, told a company representative they had been made to understand that the company will meet its obligations despite a lawsuit it filed against the city administration.
The company is under contract with the city government to manage its public markets, under a privatization program undertaken by the previous administration.
Awat recalled that the Areza-Cruz, a private company operating the two public markets in Puerto Princesa, signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the city government in 2013.
“Based on the MOA, they (Areza-Cruz) have a commitment to put up public market buildings for both old and new markets,” Awat told Palawan News on Thursday.
The loophole of the MOA, however, is that it did not give any specific timeline for the realty development corporation to construct and complete the structures, Awat pointed out.
“The problem with the MOA is it’s not clear when the Areza-Cruz should finish the building construction. Supposedly, the earliest the better, within a reasonable time but it’s not clear,” he said.
Awat on Tuesday sought Areza-Cruz operation manager Tom Arupo’s presence at the City Council’s question hour.
“Areza-Cruz said they will still pursue the project based on their commitment in the MOA, regardless of the case they have filed against the city government,” he said.
Arupo told the City Council that the delay was due to the difficulty in finding a temporary public market where they can transfer the vendors while undertaking the construction.
Now that the company has found a space somewhere along Manalo Street, Arupo said they can start constructing the public market buildings before the year ends.
Councilor Peter Maristela, on one hand, filed a resolution prohibiting the Areza-Cruz to impose a rental increase on vendors, as he observed the company does not make significant improvements so far.
Awat said they also invited Arupo to attend the legal matters committee meeting within this week to further discuss in detail their development plan for the City’s public markets.