Moreno defends sale of Divisoria Public Market

Marc Jayson Cayabyab - The Philippine Star
Moreno defends sale of Divisoria Public Market
Presidential aspirant Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso flashes his "God first" sign as he addresses residents during the grand proclamation rally of local candidates led by mayoralty aspirant Manila Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna in Sampaloc, Manila on Sunday, March 27, 2022.
The STAR / Miguel de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — Manila Mayor Isko Moreno yesterday defended the sale of the Divisoria Public Market, saying it was meant to raise funds for the city’s pandemic response.

In a chance interview in Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental during his campaign sortie, the Aksyon Demokratiko standard bearer was asked about the sale of the Divisoria market to Festina Holdings Inc. for P1.45 billion.

The Manila city council presided over by Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna issued two resolutions in 2020 authorizing Moreno to approve the sale and conduct a public bidding on the 3,700-square meter property, according to a newspaper report.

City hall had stood by the sale of the public market to generate funds through real estate tax on land developers.

Moreno said it was not him who entered into an onerous contract on the public market. Without giving out names, Moreno mentioned a late Manila mayor whose offspring is running for the top city hall post against outgoing Manila Vice Mayor Lacuna.

The late Manila mayor Mel Lopez’s son Alex is among the contenders for the Manila top post.

Festina Holdings rented the public market during the time of Lopez and the late Manila mayor Alfredo Lim, according to the report.

“As much as possible, I would like to respect the dead. But data will show that it was his father who did it, who exposed the city government in a very gravely disadvantageous situation,” Moreno said.

“History and data will judge me. I’m just happy I was able to build public housing communities and hospitals and provide medicine and equipment. People are more important at this time of crisis,” he added.

In an earlier chance interview on Sunday when he inaugurated the second tower of the city’s vertical housing project “Tondominium,” Moreno said proceeds from the public market sale went to fund the city’s horizontal public housing project in Port Area called “Basecommunity” and to buy equipment and medicine for city hall’s pandemic response.

Moreno had implied that he was being attacked over the Divisoria market sale because of his demand for the Marcos heirs to pay their P203.8-billion estate tax debt.

Alex Lopez is running as Manila mayor under Partido Federal ng Pilipinas, the political party of presidential candidate and the son of the late former president Ferdinand Marcos Jr.?“Good luck to them. Maybe someone was hurt by my demand for the P203 billion to be paid. I’m not out to destroy anybody’s name,” Moreno said in Filipino in an ambush interview in Pulilan, Bulacan on Thursday.



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