By Camille A. Aguinaldo
SOFITEL Philippine Plaza owner Philippine Plaza Holdings, Inc. (PPHI) on Sunday clarified that the luxury hotel is not closing down following reports that the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) has ordered the hotel to vacate allegedly due to an expired contract and unpaid rent.
“Please be assured that SOFITEL PHILIPPINE PLAZA remains committed to providing its valued clients and patrons with the same world-class service that the hotel is known for,” the hotel operator said in a statement, noting that the reports have negatively affected its ability to continue its operations.
PPHI said the reports stemmed from a radio interview last Friday with GSIS President and General Manager Jesus Clint O. Aranas who was quoted as saying that Sofitel Philippine Plaza owed GSIS P80 million in back rentals.
Mr. Aranas also mentioned that he had instructed the GSIS property administration department to issue a notice to PPHI to vacate the two lots owned by the government agency.
PPHI maintained that it has religiously complied with its contractual obligations to GSIS “in accordance with the terms of the original lease contract and the existing agreement,” noting that Mr. Aranas was “probably misinformed” when he claimed that Sofitel had unpaid rent in his radio interview.
“The least contract over the subject lots is covered by a valid and existing contract. The lease contract over the subject lots was renewed by GSIS and PPHI in 2016, and is effective until 2041. Moreover, PPHI has not committed any breach of the lease contract that would justify the termination of the existing agreement,” PPHI said in its statement.
“The claim of GSIS that PPHI is liable for unpaid back rental is, therefore, without basis,” it added.
The hotel operator also clarified that the issuance of a notice to vacate only referred to two small lots located adjacent to where the hotel is situated and not the hotel itself.
“There is no controversy regarding the hotel. In other words, there is no reason for the dispute to affect the hotel operations in any way,” PPHI said.