AS the state-owned Human Settlements Development Corporation (HSDC) contemplates the possibility of turning management and ownership of the Maharlika Livelihood Center (MLC) to the city government of Baguio, Mayor Benjamin Magalong is eyeing the involvement of a private third party to run the complex.
Magalong has requested the city’s finance committee to look into commissioning a private entity to run and oversee the MLC once it is turned over to the city, citing the city’s lack of expertise in running such an establishment. He also claimed that “numerous companies” have expressed interest in participating and partnering with the city on the management and ownership of the MLC.
Officials from the Department of Agriculture previously committed that the HSDC would turn over the MLC early to the city, some three years before its 50 year lease period lapses in 2025.
However, according to City Budget Officer Leticia Clemente, the proposed early turnover of the MLC is currently undergoing review and assessment through the Government Commission for Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations (GCG).
Clemente said that according to initial feasibility studies by the Local Finance Committee, the local government could earn as much as P50 million annually from the MLC once turned over, with the city planning to fix rental rates to achieve the projection.
The MLC stands on the former site of the Baguio Stone Market, which was gutted by a major fire in 1970 and was demolished in the mid-1970s.
In 1972, the Baguio City Council leased the property to MAR-BAY and Co., Inc., which was given the right to build and manage the Maharlika Livelihood Center for 25 years initially, but the lease was subsequently extended to 50 years, set to expire in April 2025.