City Hall offers business options to ‘Pueri’ lessees Print
Saturday, 23 September 2017 15:25

The city government has offered temporary business options to almost 30 stall lessees from the old Zamboanga City Puericulture Center displaced by the controversy surrounding the lease contract of the said property by a Jollibee franchisee.

City Administrator Marie Angelique C. Go initiated yesterday a dialogue with the effected Puericulture lessees in a bid to help them sustain their livelihood, pending resolution of the legal issues affecting the Puericulture operations.

“As we follow the rule of law, the mayor wanted us to dialogue with you and to find solutions to your livelihood problems. Ours is the humanitarian side of the issue,” she said.

Go said the city government is offering its economic enterprises—the Sta. Cruz Commercial Complex, the Integrated Bus Terminal (IBT) in Divisoria and Plaza del Pilar—as options where they can do business legally.

She said the displaced Puericulture lessees will be treated priority to occupy any space of their choice at any of the city’s economic enterprises, provided the line of their business jibes with what is called for in a particular area.

Another option, Go said, is for the lessees to join the Zamboanga Hermosa Festival in October where they can do business at any designated exhibit areas like the R.T. Lim Boulevard for the “Smoke Out” and travelling merchants. They will also be treated priority should they decide to participate.

“Our hands are tied up but we have to implement the law. We cannot treat you differently. But, we are here because the mayor instructed us to help solve your problems, and these are our options,” Go told the lessees.

The lessees agreed to the offer for business options, most of them preferred at Plaza del Pilar while others at the IBT. They also signified intention to join festival’s business opportunity.

Early on, City Legal Officer Jesus Carbon Jr. explained to the lessees the reasons why they have to leave the Puericulture Center, stressing that the property belongs to the national government pursuant to a presidential decree and the city government is only an administrator of the property.

“As such, the property cannot be sold, it cannot be leased and it cannot be donated. If we asked Jollibee to vacate the area, we have to do the same to you. We are treating everybody equally,” Atty. Carbon told the lessees.

“An administrator cannot have the property he is administering lease for more than one year. That is why we are assailing the contract between Puericulture Center and Jollibee for not being in accordance with the law,” Carbon further explained.

He said as early as 40 years ago, there were already resolutions by the City Council assailing the legality of lease contracts at the Puericulture, only the city government then had let it pass.

Also present during the dialogue were City Planning and Development Coordinator Rodrigo Sicat and City Licensing Officer Benjie Barredo.-(Vic Larato)