Business: Ayala Land Starts Work, P6-B Capitol Dev’t Project
With the imminent approval of its contracts by the Commission on Audit (COA), Ayala Land has started the paper works for its more than P6-billion developmentproject in Negros Occidental. Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. disclosed yesterday that Ayala Land has paid documentary stamps and other fees, and is processing building permits and other requirements related to the Capitol Civic Center project that will be constructed on the 7.7-hectare prime property of the Negros Occidental provincial government in Bacolod City.
Marañon revealed that he expects COA to approve the contracts for the sale and lease of the property on May 22.
Within this year, Ayala will start the construction of the billion-peso project that will change the landscape of Bacolod, the governor said.
He said he sees no more hindrance to the approval of the contracts as all the requirements set forth by COA were already complied with by the Provincial Capitol.
"COA will have no more questions about the contracts, last time there were three things they asked us to comply with, and we already submitted them," he said.
"This project is already a `go,’ it was already signed by Ayala," he said.
Marañon said the project will need thousands of workers and this will give jobs to unemployed laborers in the province.
It can be recalled that the contracts between the Negros Occidental provincial government and Ayala Land on the purchase and lease of the 7.7-hectare prime property have been pending in COA for more than nine months already.
The Provincial Capitol has submitted the contracts to COA for approval in July 2011.
It was only last month that COA informed the Provincial Capitol that the contracts were deficient because they were not signed.
This development surfaced only after Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda had inquired from COA the status of the contract. Lacierda had visited Bacolod last month and Marañon brought up the matter to him.
Shortly after that, Ma. Gracia Pulido-Tan, chairperson of COA, had inhibited herself from hearing the case. COA blamed the Bacolod media as the cause of her inhibition from the case, citing malicious insinuations hurled against her and the commissioners.
The media reported that Tan’s husband is giving legal services to Henry Sy and his family, who own SM Prime Holdings, the other bidder to the said property and is questioning in courts the contracts granted to Ayala.
The contracts were signed by Marañon, Ayala Land president Antonino Aquino and Ayala Land senior vice president Jose Emmanuel Jalandoni last April 26, and submitted to COA April 30.
The Sangguniang Panlalawigan had also ratified the contract. It previously ratified the unsigned contracts in July last year.
Based on the sale and lease contracts, Ayala Land will buy from the Negros Occidental provincial government 3.6587 hectares of land worth P750,033,500 subject to an initial payment of 50 percent, with the balance to be paid on a quarterly basis over a one-year period, the deed of sale states.
To be leased is 4.0481 hectares at P2,955,133 a month, with rent increasing at 10 percent every five years.
Ayala will deposit P35,461,356 covering one year rent, the contracts stated.
The P6-billion Capitol Civic Center is 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.*(DBDangcalan)