Business: ‘COA Likely to OK Signed Capitol-Ayala Deal’
Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. yesterday said the "signed contracts" they will submit to the Commission on Audit (COA) next week will likely merit the approvalof the commission, and will finally jumpstart the P6-billion Capitol Civic Center project in Bacolod.
Marañon said he went to Manila Thursday to sign the contracts on the sale and lease of the 7.7-hectare prime property of the Negros Occidental provincial government awarded to Ayala Land.
Signing the contracts on behalf of Ayala Land were its president Antonino Aquino and senior vice-president Jose Emmanuel Jalandoni. Assistant Provincial Legal Officer Mary Ann Manayon-Lamis accompanied the governor.
Marañon explained that the "unsigned contracts" they submitted to COA in July last year were actually the "deficiency" in the requirements for approval of the contract, according to the latest statement from COA.
It can be recalled that when presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda visited Bacolod last week, Maranon had personally brought the matter to him, for Malacanang to help expedite the COA review on the contracts.
Lacierda then said Malacanang had inquired from COA regarding the status of the contract, and he learned from the minutes of the COA-Commission Proper meeting on April 12 that the commissioners noted that the contracts were not signed by both the provincial government and Ayala Land.
The minutes of the meeting were stipulated in a memorandum of COA director Fortunata Rubico dated April 23 to Gilbert Kintanar, chief executive staff of COA chairperson Ma. Gracia Pulido-Tan.
A source said that under COA rules, even the draft of the contracts submitted to COA for review and approval must be signed by both parties, however, COA only told the Provincial Capitol about it nine months later.
It was only when Lacierda inquired about the status of the contracts that the Provincial Capitol was informed of the reason for the delay on its approval, a source said.
Marañon said the Sangguniang Panlalawigan will have a special session to ratify the signed contracts, afterwards the documents will be submitted to COA.
The governor said that from all indications, it’s already "a go" for the project. He said it’s already a "signed deal" and "everything will go on as planned although a bit late."
"I am happy (with the latest development). This project is for the good of the people of Bacolod and Negros Occidental," he said.
He said Ayala is already preparing for the development, and the company could be spending more than P6 billion for the project.
This has a tremendous effect to Bacolod and Negros Occidental, he added.
Marañon said the SP will ratify the same pricing of the property. Ayala Land had offered to acquire on freehold basis 36,587 square meters (3.6587 hectares) of land at P20,500 per square meter and on leasehold basis 40,481 square meters (4.0481 hectares) of land at P73 per square meter per month for 50 years. Both contracts reportedly amount to P3.5 billion.
The provincial government had earlier placed the floor price (appraised value) of the subject property at P19,500 per square meter.
The P6-billion Capitol Civic Center would have been an integrated mixed-use civic and commercial district, with retail, office, residential and hotel components, and is envisioned to be the growth center of Negros Occidental, Jalandoni earlier said.*