Abbu seeks probe on uncollected market stall rentals
“I WAS shocked and perplexed with what I read because the Audit Observation Memorandum AOM) of the Commission on Audit (COA) stated there is an uncollected revenue, fees, and charges from market stall lessees for calendar year 2022 and prior years.”
This was stressed by Councilor Jose Pepe S. Abbu, Jr. on Tuesday during the regular session of the 20th City Council presided over by Presiding Officer Pro-Tempore Councilor Romeo V. Calizo, as he expressed alarm over the alleged uncollected stall rentals at the city’s public markets.
In his special report, Councilor Abbu cited that based on the AOM, there is uncollected stall rentals amounting to “P124 million due to the lax implementation and non-enforcement of collection remedies”.
He said COA also observed that the uncollected rental fees from stallholders were not recorded in the book of accounts. “The COA even stated in its observation that even the billings for their water consumption remained uncollected,” Abbu reported.
LEASE CONTRACT Councilor Abbu said COA likewise observed that out of 4,098 market stallholders, only 3.1% (98/2569) from Cogon Market and none from Carmen and Puerto Markets have signed lease contract except for Bulua Market vendors who all have contracts.
He stated that 2,029 or 49.51% stallholders are delinquent or not paying rentals as reported. Abbu added that the COA observes that the City Economic Enterprises Department (CEED) was remiss in its duties and responsibilities to administer and enforce market rules and regulations.
“Naa’y mga illegal nga ga-pwesto kuno sa atong mga merkado nga gi-tolerate sa CEED,” said Abbu. Councilor Abbu also said that the uncollected fees from abandoned stalls were also not included in the report and that there is no computation for penalties, surcharges and interests.
“Buot pasabot, kanang P124 million kuno nga uncollected (fees) possible pa kana nga dako pa nga figure sa wala makolekta,” he pointed out. With this, the legislative body referred the special report of Councilor Abbu to the committees on ways and means, on economic enterprises, and on laws and rules respectively chaired by Councilors George S. Goking, Yan Lam S. Lim, and Edgar S. Cabanlas for further investigation.