Manila govt shuts down Isetann Recto

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 09 2019 02:28 PM | Updated as of Oct 09 2019 05:15 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) - Isetann Recto, one of the oldest shopping malls in the capital, was shut down by the city government Wednesday due to multiple violations.

The Recto mall was closed due to operating beyond its business permit, “misrepresentation of actual business area” and “questionable number of employees,” according to a memorandum from the city’s Bureau of Permits.

The mall’s shopping center was registered under Tri-Union Properties, which has been leasing multiple stalls and spaces “without the necessary business permit for the said activity,” memorandum read.

Isetann’s 4 movie theaters are managed by Cineworld Cinerama Inc, which holds a permit for only one cinema, it said.

Property management functions and services for Isetann Cinerama Complex are performed by Trans-Orient Management Services Inc that “does not have a valid and existing business permit,” it said.

A mall representative earlier denied the allegation and sent a photo of their business permit dated January 18, 2019, and signed by former Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada.

Photo Courtesy: Mercy Jacinto, Assistant Admin, Isetann Cinerama Complex

“As a mall may permit sila pero may misdeclaration. 1,000 sq m lang daw sila at 10 lang daw empleyado nila,” Manila Mayor Isko Moreno told reporters minutes before he served the closure order to Isetann officials.

(The mall obtained a permit but there are misdeclarations. They said they only have 1,000 sq m of business space and only 10 employees.)

“Mukha bang 1,000 sq m ito? In fact, this is 20,000 sq m,” the mayor said.

(Does this look like 1,000 sq m?)

Moreno said the city government had warned the Recto mall to abide by the law, stop selling stolen mobile phone and sort out their permits, but earlier warnings were not heeded.

“I told them so many times. Hindi ako nagkulang ng paalala, ‘Sundin ninyo ang mga polisiya, makiisa kayo,’” he said. “Now they are going to face the consequences of their actions.”

(I did not lack in reminding them that they should abide by policies, cooperate with the government.)

“Siguro naman ngayon makukuha na namin ang atensyon nila,” he said.

(Hopefully, now we already got their attention.)

Filing cases against mall officials “is another thing,” Moreno said.

The mall may resume operations as soon as they comply with necessary requirements, he said.

Isetann’s management earlier said they were willing to heed the government’s directive to ban the sale of second-hand mobile phones.

"Isetann Mall Management has written to the Manila City Government today that in keeping with the instructions of the Honorable City Mayor, the sale of second-hand phones will no longer be allowed at the Isetann Cinerama Complex," it said in a statement a day before the closure.

In July, Moreno joined police operatives in raiding an illegal gambling center inside the Recto mall.