Erring lessors at market told to avail of amnesty
The city council passed a resolution encouraging market stall holders to avail of the amnesty program to rectify various lease violations committed in the city public market.
In August 2021, the council enacted an ordinance granting an amnesty program that seeks to put an end to various lease violations in the market stalls or booths that are managed by the city government.
Citing the results of investigation conducted by the Public Order and Safety Division and the verification of the City Treasury Office-Market Division, Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda said numerous occupants of the market stalls are renting or leasing from registered leaseholders while some are occupying stalls due to the death of leaseholders or by virtue of transfer by sale, mortgage, or waiver.
Such acts violate of the city’s Market Code under Tax Ordinance 2000-01.
Sections 157, 160, and 161 of the Tax Ordinance state leaseholders shall physically conduct business in the stall subject of the lease; that leaseholders shall not sell, lease, or transfer to other individuals nor permit others to conduct business therein; and sub-leasing of stalls and the use of dummies are prohibited.
Violations of any of the provisions are basis for cancellation of the contract of lease with the city.
In the three-month amnesty, stall occupants and/or actual leaseholders are given time to rectify or act on their violations. After the period, all arising violations shall be dealt with in accordance with the Tax Ordinance.
For the transfer of leasehold rights, the transferee, upon presenting a deed of sale, waiver of rights, or acknowledgment by the registered leaseholder of the transfer, shall be issued a contract of lease, provided that the transferee is personally or physically conducting business in the stall/booth.
For a stall whose registered leaseholder is already deceased, the compulsory heirs of the deceased person must execute an extrajudicial settlement or waiver of rights designating a person (who may not necessarily be a compulsory heir) to be the next registered leaseholder.
A leaseholder who is sub-leasing or mortgaging their stall or using a dummy must terminate the relationship. The leaseholder, with the consent of the other party, may regain occupancy of the stall. Should both parties fail to agree, the contract of lease shall be revoked, and the stall shall be declared vacant.
The Baguio City Market Authority (BCMA) shall conduct a preliminary review of the affidavit and supporting documents of the actual occupant and issue a notice of violation to the registered leaseholder, giving the latter 15 days to contest the allegations and evidence of the occupant.
The BCMA shall then conduct a full investigation to be completed in not more than 30 days.
Whoever the BCMA decides in favor of, whether the leaseholder or the occupant, the right over the stall shall be granted to them. Any person who is not satisfied with the BCMA’s adjudication of stalls may file an appeal before the city council within 30 days from the date of the issuance of notice of adjudication as provided for in Section 162 of the Tax Ordinance.
The ordinance shall also prescribe the requirements for an actual occupant and the rental rates of a sold/mortgaged stall or a previously sub-leased stall.
A public consultation was held on June 16, 2021 during which the provisions of the ordinance were presented to the market vendors, concerned government offices, and the public for recommendations.
The amnesty program is applicable in the Baguio City Public Market, city-owned satellite markets, and the slaughterhouse.
The council said the implementing rules and regulations of the ordinance shall be crafted by the City Mayor’s Office. – Jordan G. Habbiling