THE provincial government of Batangas approved a P200-million budget to turn into a livelihood and commercial hub the Batangas Port Livelihood Center (BPLC) which has been considered a white elephant project for over 10 years.
According to Senior Board Member Rowena Africa, the provincial board passed a resolution authorizing Batangas Gov. Hermilando Mandanas to enter into a joint venture with Square Meter Trading and Construction Corp. and its affiliate company XRC Mall Developer Inc.
Based on the development plan, the three-story building will house a pasalubong center on the ground floor, restaurants and specialty stores on the 2nd floor, and a VIP passenger lounge, a hotel and commercial spaces for personal services on the 3rd floor.
There will also be a rooftop improvement for an entertainment and event center while the rest of the vacant lots will be used as parking spaces.
BPLC was built in 2007 using a P237.6-million loan from Land Bank of the Philippines.
According to Africa, part of the agreement with the contractor is the payment of the P55-milion loan balance.
The joint agreement also states that the contractor is obliged to remit P700,000 monthly revenue share to the provincial government with a one year moratorium while the building is being renovated.
Earlier this year, Board Member JP Gozos questioned the capacity of Square Meter Trading and Construction Corp. to operate the hub after it presented documents showing that the company only had P7-million cash on hand with over P600-million receivables.
Jasmine Layda who represented the company in the said hearing claimed that their affiliate XRC Mall Developer, currently operating two existing malls in the province, is in a position to provide the required funding.