OPINION | Broad Daylight Robbery by Treñas and Caboodle

OPINION | Broad Daylight Robbery by Treñas and Caboodle

Contributed by: Atty. Pet Melliza
May 17, 2023

Mayor Jerry Treñas and his caboodle in the mass disinformation industry are yelping accolades and jumping in glee at nothing but how good, bright and promising the fates of the Iloilo Terminal Market and Iloilo Central Market would be under his watch. Better still, miswatch.

“Public-Private Partnership” kuno; “renovation” kuno, “progress” pa gid, lapdogs in the  mainstream mass disinformation industry oogle.

What they’re deliberately hiding is the obvious, that the deal is nothing but a “lease contract”, a heavily lopsided one, that hands over for a song two prime real estate properties of Iloilo City taxpayers to SM Holdings, owner of the most number and biggest of malls in the Philippines.

It’s neither PPP nor renovation but a broad daylight robbery where Treñas surrenders to SM the ownership of the “Central” and “Super” to SM for 50 years, renewable thereafter at SM’s caprice.

By merely conducting repairs, minor or major, SM earns additional extensions in months and years. The contract is silent on how repairs and maintenance are supposed to be done but it would be safe to say that, since SM is the de facto owner of both privatized markets, it has the discretion to so decide and do accordingly.

In the same period of 50+ years, not a centavo goes to the city coffer: every rent (including parking fees) squeezed from tenants goes to SM on top of its bonanza of being exempted from real property and business taxes. On paper, Iloilo City remains “owner” and “lessor” of the two properties so it would stretch the imagination of how Iloilo City can compel itself to pay itself real property tax.

By the end of the term of contract, that is, after 50+ years, SM the lessee pays the “rent” by giving back to the city two structures that it had erected.

By that time, Treñas and his co-conspirators shall have gone either to the Great Beyond or the Eternal Flames. By then, the city government gets two aged structures badly needing maintenance — structural, electrical, plumbing, etc.

Inaderwords happy si SM; happy man mga apparatchiks who must be laughing their way to the bank facilitating and approving the grand rob-out.

But at our expense — vendors, taxpayers and consumers. Nothing can prevent a profit-greedy conglomerate from jacking up prices of goods and services within its usurped premises beyond outer space.

The PPP or renovation of the two public markets, as Treñas and cabal want us to believe, is broad daylight robbery. (30)


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