COA recommends sale of Bacolod lot to Ayala

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Bacolod City — The provincial auditor of the Commission on Audit has recommended the approval of the contract for the sale and lease of the 7.7-hectare property in Bacolod City owned by the Negros Occidental provincial government to Ayala Land Inc.

Provincial COA auditor Ernie Villa said the negotiated price offered by Ayala was higher compared with the offer of the SM Prime Holdings Inc. (SMPHI), which was also interested in the property.

“The negotiated price offered by Ayala was high. It was above the minimum valuation set for the price of the property even after the deduction of the P25 million allotted for the development of the Capitol Lagoon Park in Bacolod City,” Villa said.

The report was submitted on Wednesday to the COA Western Visayas office in compliance with the policy that every contract entered into by government should be reviewed and approved by state auditors.

Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. earlier said the province would stand to receive P3,575,846,909.25 with Ayala’s proposal, or more than P390 million more than the P3,112,464,973 offered by SMPHI.

Marañon added the proposed development cost of Ayala would be around P6 billion, P2.5 billion more than SMPHI’s investment in the area.

According to Villa, the provincial government had followed the pertinent rules and regulations in the bidding and the disposal of the property.

“With that, we have to recommend approval,” he said.

Villa said he also took note of the Court of Appeals ruling on the lifting of a temporary restraining order against the sale and lease of the property to Ayala.

The SMPHI has filed a petition for certiorari to stop the province from proceeding with the sale and lease of its prime property in Bacolod to Ayala.

The SMPHI claimed that it won the July 7 bidding for the property yet the province awarded the contract to Ayala in a negotiated bidding. /INQUIRER

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