CEBU CITY: The Bureau of Customs (BOC) Port of Cebu was granted a six-month extension in staying at the Cebu Port Authority (CPA) building at Pier 5 in Cebu City despite P4.8 million in rental arrears.
The Cebu Port Commission, the CPA’s policy-making body, granted the extension until March 9, 2014 to allow the BOC Port of Cebu to find a place to transfer.
CPA General Manager Dennis Villamor said the more than P4.8 million in collectibles from the Port of Cebu will remain on record as unpaid rental because the Commission on Audit (COA) is monitoring it.
Villamor said it was part of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed between then Cebu Customs District Collector Ma. Lourdes Mangaoang and then CPA general manager Mariano Martinez.
In that MOA, it was made clear that BOC would pay rental to CPA at P50,000 a month effective 2005, but since no payment was made at all even for one month, the collectibles reached P4.8 million.
Early this year, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) allocated P9.6 million or P800,000 a month for one year’s rental of the Port of Cebu.
Port of Cebu District Collector Edward de la Cuesta said they negotiated with the owner of IT Qimoda near Pier 5 who first offered the place for a rental rate of P1 million a month.
But de la Cuesta said that even if the IT Qimoda owner will accept the P800,000 a month as allocated by DBM, they still need about P18 million for the transfer cost that includes renovation of the place, and the connections for utilities like water, power, communication, computers and equipment.
On the other hand, de la Cuesta said they will continue to request Malacañang to return the BOC building at Aduana, near Plaza Independencia, to their custody.
The building, constructed by the Americans in 1910, remained idle since it was converted into the Malacañang sa Sugbo by then President Gloria Arroyo in 2005.
When President Benigno Aquino 3rd took over in 2010, he refused to return the building to BOC.
Mayor Michael Rama of Cebu City has earlier requested the President to convert the place into a public museum as it is within the city’s many historical sites.