With the enactment of an ordinance providing for an amnesty program for actual occupants of stalls in the public market, the city officials are expecting to see a decline in lease violations that have been tolerated for years. In a forum with the Baguio City Council last January 30, City Accountant Alex Cabarrubias is currently evaluating all the market amnesty applications. The
evaluation will be finished by the end of March of this year, he said.

The amnesty ended in April 2022, but Cabarrubias told the council their office may recommend for the extension of application if there is a need for it as seen in the results of the evaluation. In August 2021, the Baguio City Council enacted an ordinance granting an amnesty program, hoping to put an end to various lease violations in the market stalls or booths that are managed by the city
government.  Through the investigations conducted by the Public Order and Safety Division (POSD), it was found out that numerous occupants of the market stalls are renting or leasing from the registered leaseholders while some are occupying the stalls due to the death of the leaseholders or by virtue of transfer by sale, mortgage, or waiver.

Such acts are in violation of the city’s Market Code under Tax Ordinance No. 2000-01. Sections 157 and 160 of the tax ordinance categorically state that the leaseholders shall physically or personally conduct business in the stall subject of the lease. Section 157 further stipulates that the leaseholder shall not sell, lease, or transfer to other individuals nor permit others to conduct business therein. Section 161 likewise prohibits the sub-leasing of stalls and the use of dummies. According to the ordinance, any of these violations shall be sufficient for the cancellation of the contract of lease with the city.

The ordinance prescribes the following corrective remedies: 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 Extra-Judicial Settlement or Waiver of Rights designating a person (who may not necessarily be a compulsory heir) to be the next registered leaseholder; and For a leaseholder who is sub-leasing or mortgaging their stall or using a dummy, they must terminate this 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 or cancelled, and the stall shall be declared vacant. Meanwhile, the bidding and awarding of all vacant stalls in the city public market is still suspended in light of the market amnesty program. It will resume after all the amnesty
applications have been acted upon.

SP/Jordan G. Habbiling

Amianan Balita Ngayon