BAGUIO CITY — The city government is asking President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s help in negotiating with the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) to buy the state firm’s idle property in Barangay Marcoville on Upper Session Road here.
The city government intends to use the property as a public parking space to free up more road space for vehicular traffic.
“May resolution yung City Council asking the President to help the city of Baguio to convince the GSIS na ipagamit yung property saMarcoville (The city council has a resolution asking the President to help the Baguio City convince the GSIS to use its property in Marcoville), subject to terms and conditions that the city and GSIS may agree on,” Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan said in a late afternoon press conference at the city hall on Wednesday.
Domogan said he had already sent a letter to the GSIS informing the state firm of the city government’s interest in buying the property. He added the GSIS had replied, but gave a price too high for the city government.
Domogan said the GSIS pegged a PHP433-million selling price in November. But when the city government negotiated PHP350 million, the GSIS countered with an even higher price of PHP682 million.
“I declined, they should allow us to purchase (based on their) offer in their letter in November 2017,” he said. The property, he noted, “has been idle for a long time, which is a waste.”
Baguio is bugged by worsening traffic congestion and parking woes. Parking has been seen as a major contributor to the traffic congestion, as roadsides are being used as parking for vehicles, impeding the smooth flow of traffic, especially at the central business district.
The GSIS property, Domogan noted, has been idle for over two decades after the GSIS abandoned the property and rented a space, where it now holds office.
“We want to be given the priority to purchase the GSIS property to maximize its use by putting up of a multi-level parking structure that can accommodate both private and public motor vehicles, thus contributing in the efforts to decongest the central business district area and provide the public with alternative parking areas,” Domogan said.
The city government had earlier also purchased a prime property owned by the GSIS.
In 2004, the GSIS, local government, and the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) entered into a tripartite agreement for the city to purchase the premier convention facility from the GSIS using the share of the local government from the lease rentals of the John Hay Special Economic Zone as its down payment.
The local government was able to fully own the Baguio Convention Center after it settled its unpaid obligations, penalties, and surcharges sometime in 2012.
The mayor said the city is in dire need of the idle GSIS property, as it would address their traffic problem. Pamela Mariz Geminiano/PNA-northboundasia.com