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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, August 30, 2011
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SM legal suit
prolonging agony: MBCCI

BY GILBERT BAYORAN

The case filed by the SM Prime Holdings Inc. against the provincial government is not only delaying the development of the Negros countryside, but also prolonging the agony of Negrenses, who are looking forward to do business as well as avail of job opportunities that can be made available by AyalaLand, Jose Ma. Zayco, vice president of the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said recently.

The provincial government of Negros Occidental has awarded the development of its 7.7-hectare prime lots in Bacolod City to AyalaLand after it submitted a negotiated bid.

Zayco said a lot of opportunities as well as businesses could be made available if the development of the Capitol property is started soon.

AyalaLand is investing P6 billion for the development of the Capitol property, compared the P2.5 billion investment of SMPHI. “It is common sense that anyone will go for the bigger investment,” Zayco said

The 60-day temporary restraining order granted by the Court of Appeals to SMPHI expires on September 27.

Despite the TRO, the Commission on Audit legal department has started the review of contract between the provincial government and AyalaLand.

COA provincial chief Ernie Villa clarified that the review of contract was not covered by the TRO. The sale of government properties, as stipulated under the provisions of RA 7150 needs the approval of the COA.

Zayco admitted that he was awed by the presentation of AyalaLand on the development of the Capitol prime lots, and said it will change the landscape of the province, especially Bacolod City.

SMPHI has claimed that the Committee on Awards and Disposal of Real Properties “acted unfairly, arbitrarily and with grave abuse of discretion” in deciding that the public bidding for the sale/lease of such property on July 7 was a failure.

The provincial government asked the CA to dissolve the TRO for “lack of merit.” *GPB

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