Baguio eyes a cooperative as partner in market development

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BAGUIO CITY – The city government is looking into the possibility of a partnership with the existing market cooperative in expediting the market modernization project.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong told the City Hall Hour-Ugnayan press briefing Tuesday that the city received an offer from the market group for a possible joint venture on the project and the city is considering the same.

The mayor said the city is now in the process of completing the plan with the help of the private sector and Councilors Mylen Yaranon, Philian Weygan and Joel Alangsab who the mayor said have been actively pursuing the project.

As to the Uniwide Sales Realty and Resources Corporation (USRRC), the city’s co-party in the botched market development deal, the mayor said the city has taken action to assert the termination of the deal based on existing statutes.

He said a letter was sent to Justice Martin Villarama Jr., the court-appointed liquidator in line with the dissolution of the companies belonging to the Uniwide Group of Companies which include the USRRC as per the liquidation order dated Nov. 23, 2017.

In said letter, the mayor asserted the city’s intention to avail of the provisions of Republic Act 10142 or the Financial Rehabilitation and Insolvency Act of 2010 particularly section 113 which stipulate that with the liquidation order, USRRC is deemed dissolved and all contracts entered into by the company are also deemed terminated.

The mayor also informed the liquidator that that it will not agree to any assignment of the market contract to any subsidiary or affiliate of the company.

Earlier Asst. City Legal Officer Melchor Carlos Rabanes suggested that the city consider the Design-Build-Lease agreement with Uniwide “as terminated and/or breached in view of the declaration of the (company) as insolvent, hence, the liquidation of its assets and its eventual termination.”

The mayor then directed the preparation of the conceptual plan and eventually a master development plan that would transform the trading center into a true show window of the city.

The original plan approved under the lease agreement forged in 1995 provides for a six-story building with a total cost of P1.7 billion with Uniwide to operate the upper floors for 30 years and the city to continue to supervise the first floor where the main market place and legitimate vendors will be housed.

However, the development project was not implemented due to the protracted legal battle involving the legality of the contract and later the dissolution of the Uniwide companies.

By: Aileen P. Refuerzo

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