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QC gov’t shuts down Manila Seedling Bank

82 evicted tenants offered new site
/ 03:14 AM December 10, 2013

The Manila Seedling Bank compound is no longer home to plant lovers and vendors. It was shut down on Monday by the city government, which evicted the businesses within the premises after a grace period of over a year. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

The Quezon City government shut down on Monday the seven-hectare Manila Seedling Bank compound at the corner of Edsa and Quezon Avenue as it evicted 82 tenants from the area for operating without permits.

The closure coincided with Mayor Herbert Bautista’s State of the City Address although city administrator Victor Endriga quickly pointed out that the two events just happened to be scheduled on the same day.

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The city government took over the compound last year after the Manila Seedling Bank Foundation failed to pay P57.208 million in real estate taxes between 2001 and 2011. This was after the Supreme Court ruled that although the compound was owned by the National Housing Authority (NHA), the foundation was not exempted from paying taxes.

On Friday, the city’s business permits and licensing office (BPLO) issued 82 cease-and-desist orders to stall owners and tenants in the compound after they failed to secure the necessary permits from the Mayor’s Office and building official as required under the National Building Code.

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The orders were the second batch to be issued by BPLO against the Manila Seedling Bank tenants since March.

As early as 6 a.m. on Monday, personnel from the city’s department of public order and safety closed the gates of the compound on Edsa and Quezon Avenue.

Endriga said that in August 2012, the tenants signed a deed of undertaking with him in which they agreed to voluntarily dismantle their structures and vacate the compound within six months. But despite the issuance of notices of violation and repeated warnings, they did not leave the area.

“We have already given them one year and four months. Yet, up to now, they are still unable to comply,” he added.

Tenants can move to Circle

He said that the tenants had been offered a spot at Quezon Memorial Circle. Fourteen have so far moved to the new site called the Quezon City Circle Garden, which Endriga described as more spacious and conducive to business.

“I do not know why they refuse to relocate to the new site, which is bigger and where they have their own parking space,” he said.

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On Sept. 11, the city’s building official ordered the seedling bank foundation’s management to comply with the National Building Code after it was shown that the building it occupies has neither been issued a building permit nor a certificate of occupancy since it was built in 1977.

At the same time, the city government discovered that the foundation no longer had any legal personality after its certificate of registration was revoked in 2002 although it continued to collect monthly rentals amounting to P2 million from tenants at the compound, Endriga said.

“Aside from operating without the necessary [business] and building permits, Manila Seedling Bank Foundation Inc. no longer has any legal personality with the Securities and Exchange Commission,” he added.

According to him, the area has been auctioned twice but there were no buyers so it was automatically forfeited in favor of the city government. He added that the Manila Seedling Bank Foundation was also given ample time to redeem the property although it did not.

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TAGS: City government, closure, Manila Seedling Bank, Philippines - Metro, Quezon City
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