In what could be deemed a steal, the entire second floor of the Virac Public Market is being offered to lease by the municipal government at just P34,125 per month or P409,500 for an entire year.
The rental rate for the bare and open area of 2,275 square meters is specified in the temporary rental rates of the market approved by the Market Committee and submitted by Mayor Sinforoso Sarmiento Jr. to the Sangguniang Bayan last April 26, 2021.
“These rates are intended to apply until the Market Code is enacted,” the mayor clarified.
Two months later, on July 5, Acting Assistant Municipal Treasurer Senen Razal, who was designated as Special Assistant for Special Concerns by the chief executive, furnished the SB, through Committee on Ways and Means chairman Councilor Robert Maullon, the projected statement of receipts and expenditures of the Virac market, based on three rental rate reduction proposals which are 10%, 15% and 20% lower than the ones earlier set by the Sarmiento administration.
The rate reduction, however, applies only to the ground floor stalls and tables and does not cover the second floor, ambulant vendors and those selling accessories.
According to a source, the Market Code, which has been approved by the municipal council recently but is undergoing refinements, does not specify a rental rate for the second floor. Instead, the proposed rental rate for the entire floor is reportedly subject to the approval of the council.
But the council reportedly approved a 30% reduction in the market rental rates, much lower than the committee’s recommendation.
At the Dry Section, with most stalls having an area of 10 or 11 square meters, the existing rental rate is P25 to P28 per square meter, or P6,600.00 to P9,240.00 per month.
At the Wet Section with 4-square meter tables, the rate is P120 to P180 per day or P3,600.00 to P5,400.00 per month.
The “Balawan” Section carries rates of P2,000.00 per month while the “Kudkudan” and Coco Products Sections have stalls leased at P2,500.00 per month. The Poultry Section is being rented out at P150 per day or P4,500.00 per month.
On the other hand, the Semi-Wet Section carries a rental rate of P3,600.00 to P4,500.00 per month for stalls of 5.7 to 6.2 square meters.
In their report, the Market Committee estimated that with a 20% reduction in rental rates for the ground floor stalls and tables except for the accessories and ambulant vendors as well as the second floor, the LGU would incur a net loss of P4.4 million for the first year of operation, P5.1 million for the second year and P6.5 million for the third year, with the figure tapering off to a P1.1 million negative performance by the 10th year.
In the original proposal, most of the second floor was allocated for the Dry Goods Section, with a portion of the ground floor set aside for rent to two big establishments such as a bank or fast food restaurant.
The new administration, however, ordered a change in the plans, with the Dry Goods section moved to the ground floor, resulting in smaller-sized stalls.
The entire second floor, it is claimed, was supposed to be rented out to the LCC group for operation as a mini-mall but this prospect remains dim due to the coronavirus pandemic.