EMBATTLED Councilor Reynaldo Advincula has gone ballistic over the city’s market mess even as he lashed at ex-mayor Pablo Magtajas and his former colleagues in the city council for city hall’s failure to collect stall rentals.
But as he hurled brickbats at Magtajas and the opposition, Advincula also gave a hint on the amount of bad debts the Emano administration and its council wrote off. Last April, Advincula and other councilors approved an ordinance writing off the vendors’ debts in 2001 and the preceding years. The ordinance did not state how much the bad debts were.
However, Advincula said the vendors’ debts reached nearly P10 million because of an ordinance passed by the city council during the Magtajas administration.
It was Magtajas who pushed for the passage of the ordinance that increased market stall rentals, he said.
"Magtajas is the culprit... the debts balloooned from thousands to millions of pesos because of his ordinance," said Advincula who served as a councilor then.
Advincula said the debts accumulated because vendors at that time found the new rates exorbitant. He said vendors leasing stalls at the meat sections of the markets were adversely affected.
He said he voted against the Magtajas ordinance. "I objected and did not vote but the ordinance was approved. I was the only one who opposed."
Advincula accused the councilors at that time of approving the ordinance ‘‘without thinking.’’
The councilors then are mostly prominent figures of the local opposition today.
Advincula said Magtajas pushed for the approval of the ordinance after he created through an executive order the City Economic Enterprise Management Board (CEEMB).
Because the vendors were badly hit, Advincula said the Meat Vendors’ Association of Cagayan de Oro (Mecameva) and other market-based organizations brought Magtajas to court. He said the case reached the Supreme Court.
The case, he said, prompted vendors to stop paying their rent.
"That (increase) is the reason why some of the market vendors also withdrew from their stalls," Advincula said.
Advincula said the stall rent (1½ x1½ meter space) was only P60 before the Magtajas administration increased it to P900 and subsequently to P1,000 per stall.
Because of this, Advincula said the Emano administration decided to condone the vendors’ debts, including penalties and surcharges, in 2001 and earlier through Ordinance no. 10127-2006.
Advincula said Emano and the present councilors saw the Magtajas ordinance as ‘‘defective,’’ hence the move the write off the bad debts.
He said when he favored the approval of the ordinance last April, it did not mean that "I voted to write off my own debts.’’
‘‘It was jointly moved and jointly seconded," he said.