ALI, Negros Occidental ink land deal
BACOLOD CITY—Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon and Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) last week signed the deed of sale and contract of lease for the 7.7-hectare property owned by the provincial government.
Marañon said he and ALI president Antonino Aquino and senior vice president Jose Emmanuel Jalandoni signed the deed of sale and contract of lease, which are part of the Commission on Audit (CoA) requirements for approval of the deal.
“It’s as good as go. We are relieved. It is good for the people of Negros Occidental and Bacolod City,” Marañon said last Thursday.
The deed of sale states that the provincial government will sell 36,587 square meters of government land worth P750.03 million.
ALI would be required to immediately pay half of the entire cost, with the balance to be paid on a quarterly basis over a one-year period.
The lease contract, on the other hand, states that ALI will lease a 40,481-square-meter property at P2.95 million a month, with rent escalating at a rate of 10 percent every five years.
Ayala will deposit P35.46 million covering rent for one year.
Marañon said CoA would decide on the transaction as soon as it receives the signed copies of the deed of sale and contract of lease.
A side agreement was that ALI would begin payment as soon as the CoA officially approves the project, the governor said.
“Ayala has committed to invest more than P6 billion in the development of the property. It will have a tremendous effect on Bacolod City and Negros Occidental,” the governor said.
Although the project had been delayed, Ayala is already preparing for the development, he said.
SM Prime Holdings Inc. had opposed the sale and lease of the property, saying it was the rightful winner of the bidding for the property conducted last year, Marañon said.
SM Prime Holdings Inc. has a pending petition before the Bacolod Regional Trial Court seeking the annulment of any negotiated sale and lease by the provincial government property to ALI, and for SMPHI to be declared the winner of the July 7 bidding of the 7.7-hectare property.
Marañon, however, has insisted that the action of the province was aboveboard, and that SMPHI did not win the July 7 bidding for the property, because, like Ayala, its bid fell below the set floor price.
A negotiated bidding was held, in which SMPHI refused to participate, so the sale and lease was awarded to Ayala Land, he said.
SMPHI lawyer John Vincent Bayhon said the company had not been informed about the governor and ALI’s signing of the deed of sale and contractor lease so he could not make an official comment on the matter.
Bayhon said SMPHI would continue to pursue the case at the Bacolod RTC.
Commission on Audit chairperson Maria Gracia Pulido-Tan inhibited herself from the CoA review of the sale and lease of the 7.7-hectare property, Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said last week.
“Our understanding is that Chairman Grace Tan has inhibited herself over the concern that the law firm of her husband is the lawyer for the Sys,” he said.
The Sy family controls SMPHI, which has opposed the sale and lease of the property to ALI.
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