BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – City Hall did not chicken out today in closing down 15 chicken barbecue stalls at the famed Manokan Country even as the local festivities go on a full swing.
City Hall official Rey Demisana said the padlocked stalls will be opened as soon as delinquent owners sign a note promising to pay their unpaid monthly rentals that has a running balance of P7.6 million as of September 2022.
Demisana heads the Enforcement Team of the Legal Office that swung into action today, 3 October 2022, after sitting Mayor Alfredo Abelardo “Albee” Benitez and Councilor Celia Flor talked to stallowners renting at the Manokan Country.
Benitez gave the stallowners until 30 September 2022 to make substantial payments for their arrears, which ran to a total of P8.5 million for the 15 whose businesses were closed today.
Only four remain in operation, Nicole, Nene Lim, Lion’s Park, and Nena’s Rose.
Tension rose for a while when some of the stallowners became emotional after CLO personnel placed ropes in front of their stall’s entrances and posted signs saying “CLOSED” near the entrances and as local press covered the event.
One elderly woman from a stall was nearly hysterical and shouted at City Hall personnel, saying they were being forced. out.
She was eventually brought inside the stall as her companions said she might get a heart attack.
“Is this what you call change?” some owners and their employees shouted, with the owner of New Paz saying they were not evicted by “our mayor,” referring to former Mayor Evelio Leonardia who, she said, owns Manokan Country.
The “New Paz”owner, who refused to give her name, said she went to the Bacolod City Government Center on October 1 but found out there that offices are closed on Saturdays and Sundays.
” We are small businessmen trying to eke out a living,” she told reporters in Hiligaynon.
Another owner, a man, said he was hoping they would be given time to sell their cooked viands for lunch as he pointed to several serving trays by their entrance where they serve food turo turo style (literally point point or cooked viand that are ready to be served).
Stallowners here pay P2,800 a month but most have reportedly piled up payments running to several thousands of pesos.