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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, April 12, 2012
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Ayala diverts focus
with COA delay: guv

Ayala Land Inc. has informed Gov. Alfredo Marañon of its decision to focus its development plans and resources on other projects in Negros Occidental, following the delay of the Commission on Audit in reviewing the deed of sale and contractof lease to them of the 7.7-hectare prime property of the provincial government in Bacolod City, he said yesterday.

Jose Emmanuel Jalandoni, ALI senior vice-president, in a letter dated April 4 released by the governor to the media yesterday, said they will focus their plans and resources on their Northpoint project in Talisay City, as well as other potential opportunities in the province.

He assured Marañon of the company’s commitment to Negros as a “growth center” for its development, and said they will continue to look forward to bringing more quality products and lifestyle developments to the Negrenses.

ALI had hoped to invest P6 billion to redevelop the provincial capitol property of Negros Occidental in Bacolod City into a 7.7-hectare mixed use civic and commercial district.

The provincial government of Negros Occidental awarded ALI the right to purchase 3.66 hectares of the property, and to lease the remaining 4.04 hectares for a period of 50 years.

Marañon, who has blamed COA for the delay in the approval of the Capitol-ALI deal, said they have no choice but to de-prioritize the Capitol Civic Center project, in order to move on and focus on other development projects in Negros Occidental.

Jalandoni said “We agree that this project has been long delayed and is affecting the progress and economic development of Negros Occidental and the Negrenses”.

He admitted that it had also affected other ALI plans in Negros Occidental.

Thus, he added, “we fully understand and respect the need to de-prioritize this project for the sake of continued progress in Negros.”

Marañon expressed his gratitude for the continued support of ALI the development of Negros Occidental. He, however, stressed that they are not giving up the fight yet.

The SM Prime Holdings Inc. filed a petition last year before the Bacolod Regional Trial Court seeking the annulment of any negotiated sale and lease by the provincial government of its property to ALI, and for SMPHI to be declared the winning bidder of the July 7 bidding.

The next hearings of the case have been set on April 27 and May 25.

The creation of the COA technical team to evaluate and re-appraise the value of the Capitol property, although the provincial government complied with the requirements asked from them, including the submission of contracts for approval on July 22 last year, is expected to further delay the realization of the project, Provincial Administrator Enrique Pinongan said earlier.* GPB

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