Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko” Domagoso on Tuesday gave two companies that operate five public markets in the city 72 hours to pay more than P25 million in debt or the city government will take over their operations.
The city government issued a demand letter on Aug. 5 directing XRC Mall Developers and Marketlife Management and Leasing Corp. to settle their obligations within 72 hours, Domagoso said.
XRC Mall Developers operates the Sta. Ana Market, San Andres Market, Sampaloc Market, and Trabajo Market. The company has incurred a P14.38-million debt to the city between April 2017 and July 2019. Marketlife, the corporation behind Quinta Market, has P11.16 million in unpaid obligations for the same period.
Domagoso said he gave the two companies about three days to pay and yet they continue to ignore the demand letter.
“This is unfair. In the absence of payment, we will invalidate or strike down your contract. No extension. You have to pay,” Domagoso warned.
The two companies entered into a joint venture agreement with the past administration under former Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, in line with the privatization of public markets.
Under the agreement, the two companies will remit a revenue share to the city every year from P1 million to P6 million.
The total unpaid obligations are the sum of the unremitted guaranteed annual revenue share (GARS), penalty fees, and surcharges, the mayor said.
“What is sad here is that the small vendors in the market pay their rental fees to the companies. Unfortunately, these two companies failed to remit their obligations to the city government, and that is unfair,” Domagoso said.
Meanwhile, the Russian envoy to Manila offered to help Domagoso ease the traffic congestion in the capital and to adopt a renewable energy program currently being utilized in many Russian cities.
Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev made the offer during a courtesy call to the mayor at City Hall on Tuesday.
Khovaev also invited Domagoso to travel to Moscow on an exchange program to meet Russian officials to discuss local governance, traffic management and energy efficiency solutions, among other issues.
The envoy said Manila and Moscow have many common problems, and an exchange of experiences would help find solutions that would benefit its citizens.
Domagoso said he love to visit Russia this October and see if Manila could adopt Russia’s renewable energy program and ease the city government’s burden in paying high electricity bills every year.
“We want to come up with ways on how we can save energy and generate reusable water,” Domagoso said after the courtesy call.
He said his visit to Russia would give him an opportunity “for the people of Manila to learn something.”
The Russian envoy was the fourth ambassador to meet with Domagoso since he assumed office.
Khovaev also urged the mayor to send a delegation of educators and students to Moscow later this month to participate in the International Olympiad of Metropolises, a competition held in the Russian capital annually.