Probe on irregularities in market stall leasing ongoing
Mayor Benjamin Magalong warned anew stallholders at the city public market against sub-leasing and other violations of lease contracts and of the Tax Ordinance or the Baguio City’s Market Code.
The mayor said the investigation on these illegal activities is continuing and has so far yielded good leads.
This is part of the steps to stamp out these long-standing schemes of willful sub-leasing, use of dummy accounts, and selling of stall “rights” as the city endeavors to adopt a foolproof system to manage the market.
Public Order and Safety Division head enforcer Daryll Longid said validation of the applications under the market amnesty program implemented through Ordinance 86 s. 2021 until 2022 is ongoing and once finished, the city can “go full throttle in uncovering subleasing activities.”
Under the amnesty program, stall occupants or actual leaseholders were given the chance to “rectify or act on their violations” with the actual occupants also given the chance to have the leasehold rights transferred to them if warranted.
After the period, all arising violations will be dealt with in accordance with the provisions of the Market Code.
Longid recently reported a number of personalities own multiple stalls at the market using dummy accounts and these stalls are being subleased at unreasonably high rental rates.
He said there are leaseholders who sublease their stalls individually while there are those who do it on a large scale.
“These personalities victimize small vendors who are left with no choice but to agree with higher rental rates that can go as high as 2,000 percent. For the longest time, they have made hundreds of market stalls as their milking cow where they are actually earning millions,” Longid said in an earlier report.
These are in violation of the Tax Ordinance, particularly Section 146, which states it is illegal to manage more than one stall; and sections 157 and 160, which state “the leaseholder shall physically or personally conduct business in the stall subject of the lease and that the leaseholder shall not sell, lease, or transfer to other individuals their leasehold rights nor permit others to conduct business therein”; and Section 161, which prohibits the sub-leasing of stalls and the use of dummies. – Aileen P. Refuerzo