December 10, 2022

To curb the illegal subleasing, mortgaging, and selling of stalls at the public market, a proposed ordinance is pending before the city council which seeks to grant amnesty to original leaseholders as well as current occupants, subject to conditions.
The proposal, which seeks to grant a three-month amnesty, requires, among others, the original leaseholders or their heirs to either sign a waiver in favor of the current occupant or settle with the current occupant. Without a settlement, the proposal states that a stall may be declared vacant after adjudication by the Baguio City Market Authority.
In sections 157 and 160 of the Market Code, leaseholders are required to personally conduct business in the leased stall. They are also prohibited to sell, lease, transfer, encumber or permit another person to conduct business at the stall they are leasing. Any violation will be basis for the cancellation of the contract of lease with the city.
But based on investigations conducted by the Public Order and Safety Division and verified by the City Treasury Office, the reality is that numerous occupants of stalls were found to be leasing from the original leaseholder, while others are occupying stalls due to the death of the leaseholder, or by virtue of transfer by sale, mortgage, or waiver.
Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda, chair of the city council committee on laws, said to put an end to these violations, the amnesty will allow the current lessors to occupy the stalls, or the original lessors to occupy anew the stalls, subject to conditions and depending on how the current occupant was able to acquire or operate the stall.
In the proposed amnesty, the current occupant will be issued a contract of lease by the CTO, upon presentation of a deed of sale, waiver of rights or acknowledgment by the registered or original leaseholder.
For a deceased leaseholder, the compulsory heirs must execute an extrajudicial settlement or waiver of rights designating the person not necessarily a compulsory heir who shall be the registered leaseholder.
For a leaseholder who is sub-leasing, using dummies or who has mortgaged a stall, the leaseholder and the sub-lessee/dummy/mortgagee shall terminate the agreement and the leaseholder, with the consent of the other party, may regain occupancy of the stall but if the parties do not agree, the contract of lease shall be revoked and the stall will be declared vacant.
The BCMA is tasked to review documents and adjudicate concerns regarding the use of stalls.
For lease payments, the proposed amnesty states that all rent should be paid to the CTO. And instead of the rates prescribed under the Market Code, rates shall be, for leased stall – the monthly rent paid to the original leaseholder for the first year, 50 percent on the second year, and the regular rate on the third year.
For sold or mortgaged stalls, the monthly amount of rent shall be three times the existing rate on the first year, two times of said rate for the second year, and the regular rate on the third year.
The proposal is on second reading after publication. – Rimaliza A. Opiña

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