Still a long way to go for Baguio market development

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BAGUIO CITY – The city’s market’s development remains a long shot as officials say there is no done deal yet although Robinsons Land Corporation’s (RLC) got an upper hand from the People (P4) selection committee of the city.

Last August 12, the People Initiative Selection Committee (P4-SC) has favored the offer of Robinsons to which the city might go into a Public Private Partnership after it wad given the Original Proponent Status for the development of the city market.

City Administrator Bonifacio dela Peña said, the recommendation of the P4 for the prequalification of the proposal of RLC does not mean that the project has already been awarded them, as the terms may still be negotiated before reaching a final deal.

After the prequalification, the original proponent status of RLC will be opened, to allow other companies for the “swiss challenge” process and outbid the offer.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong told Manila Bulletin that he did not yet receive the recommendation from the P4.

“ We need to check this very carefully without favoritism and corruption, because this projects is not only the development of the market, the very important factor here is the welfare of the vendors and the community.”

Dela Peña said if the Mayor confirms the decision of the P4, however, Robinson’s will not yet get the award of the project.

The P4 process will still go under the Swiss Challenge wherein SM and other interested developers will still have a chance to outbid Robinsons.

Even a third party like the cooperative put up by vendors at the Baguio City Market can still join and qualify.

On the strength of its more comprehensive offer, SM Prime Holdings, which also submitted its market development proposal to the P4, plans to challenge RLC’s offer. Representatives of the firm said they have submitted complete documents supporting its proposal, which includes a long-term commitment beneficial to the city if their offer would be selected.

In its proposal, SM Prime offered to lease the public market for 50 years. It plans to build a seven-story structure.

The first two floors will accommodate the current market vendors, two basement parking; and three more floors — two will operate as a mall and the topmost floor will be a green space.

A group of market vendors also plans to make a challenge.

The Baguio Market Vendors Association (BMVA) was supposed to be the third party in the selection of market developer, though it was disqualified for lacking documents for its proof that it has a legal and juridical personality.

Zaldy Comanda-ABN