City wants UHRI to pay P96 million
Jean Marvette A. Demecillo (The Freeman) - March 17, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  The Cebu City government is eyeing asking the Universal Hotels and Resorts Inc. (UHRI) to pay at least P96 million, representing the eight-year period they free from remitting the shares due to the city government, in lieu of their revenue share.


Francisco Fernandez, executive assistant to the mayor, said UHRI earlier asked the city to send them the billing of their P1 million monthly payment to the city government.

“Wala man ta naanad og bill. But ang private firms usually magpaabot na sila og bill. So, mo-request lang ta nila nga bayaran nalang ang whole eight years,” he said.

Fernandez said the city government has not yet received the monthly payment from UHRI since the signing of the Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) in August 2018.

It is stipulated in the JVA that the city government is entitled to receive its share in the project revenues such as 10 percent of the gross real estate rental revenues from the retail lease of spaces in the commercial/shopping center and the parking lots; 10 percent from the wholesale lease of the gross bare-shell spaces in the integrated resort; 15 percent from the wholesale lease in the casino facility; and 10 percent from the wholesale lease of spaces in hotels if the hotels are leased to a hotel operator, but if the giant firm will operate it, the city will get two percent from its gross rental in the hotel’s gross room and food and beverage revenues.

However, the remittance of the city’s share will start on the ninth year, or after the eight-year grace period.

It is also stipulated in the JVA that during the eight-year grace period, the UHRI will pay P1 million per month or P12 million per year starting the first year of the construction period or two to four years prior to operations in lieu of its revenue share.

The P12-million annual payment of UHRI will be used for SRP administration assistance for peace and order, and garbage collection, among others.

Fernandez said the city government will wait for the response of UHRI on the city’s plan to bill them the supposed monthly payment before issuing the bill.

As of now, he said UHRI is starting its horizontal civil works in Kawit Island at the South Road Properties.

With this, he said the company asked the occupants in the city government buildings there to move out by end of this month for the faster construction of the civil works.

The affected offices are the SRP-Management Office, the Bantay Dagat Commission Office, and the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office.

While waiting for the completion of the four-story building behind City Hall, employees of the affected offices will temporarily be housed in a building in the SRP.

Fernandez said the four-story building which is being constructed in Magellan’s Park, across the Senior Citizen’s Park, will be completed in May.

UHRI will construct the P18 billion integrated resort and casino in two phases.

The first phase includes a commercial or shopping center, integrated resort facilities, a convention center, a performing arts theater, a theme park, a hotel, parking lot, and a casino.

For the second phase, UHRI will construct two more hotels on the third and fourth year after the JVA was signed.

As this developed, the court asked the city government to answer within five days the motion for reconsideration filed by Busay Councilman Amilo Lopez who wants the P18-billion project stopped.

Lawyer Bernard Inocentes Garcia of the City Legal Office said the court heard the UHRI case last Friday.

“Amilo Lopez never showed up in court. When his application for a temporary restraining order was heard, he didn't show up. In another hearing, when we asked the court to dismiss his case, he didn't appear in court to defend it. Recently, after the dismissal of his case, he filed a motion for reconsideration, but still he didn't show up in court to show his interest in the case,” Garcia said.

With his consistent non-appearance, Garcia said it's only proper that the court dismiss his case for lack of interest and for utter lack of merit. — BRP (FREEMAN)

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