Manila market operator settles P12.9-million debt after contract termination threat

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 14 2019 06:31 PM

A man packs meat at the Trabajo Market in Manila on Thursday, July 5, 2018. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - A corporation handling the operations of 4 wet markets in Manila paid the city government P12.9 million Wednesday out of its P14.38-million total debt to the city over two years.

XRC Mall Developers Inc. - which is in charge of the Sta. Ana, San Andres, Sampaloc and Trabajo markets - gave the check a day after Manila Mayor Isko Moreno said the government would rescind its contracts with operators who would fail to pay their dues to the city within 3 days.

“May konting kulang pero numero na lang 'yan (It's still a bit short but that's just numbers). What matters most is the bulk of their obligation to the city of Manila is settled,” the mayor said.

XRC is obliged to pay P5.5 million to the city government annually, according to the joint venture agreement it signed with former Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada.

XRC incurred a P14.38-million debt after it failed to remit the city’s guaranteed annual revenue share for 2 years.

“Mayroon daw silang hindi pagkakaunawaan noong dating administrasyon (They allegedly had a misunderstanding with the past administration),” Moreno said when asked about XRC’s reason for non-remittance, but he refused to give more details.

“Baka itong mga kompanyang ito pinasok lang nung una, di ko alam kung ginawang baka (Maybe these companies were just allowed to come in at the start, I don't know if it was used as a dummy),” he said.

The P12.9 million was the principal amount and XRC will no longer have to pay some P2-million in penalties since Manila implemented a tax amnesty program last month, Moreno said.

A portion of the fund will be used to procure more medicine for the city’s public hospitals, he said.

Criminal charges will not be filed against XRC, Moreno said.

“What we are after is what is due to the city. We will sit down with them and discuss how we can live in harmony because markets are basic facilities for the people,” he said. “Doon ako lagi sa (I am always for) moving on.”

Quinta Market operator Marketlife Management and Leasing Corporation has yet to settle its P11.16 million debt.

“Officially, in a formal setting, they (Marketlife) were informed. We will go after you. Ayaw natin sila pangunahan, basta tayo (We don't want to get ahead of them, but) we were fair,” Moreno said.

“You still have 48 hours,” he said.