Uniwide out of Baguio market development deal

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BAGUIO CITY  – The city government already shut its doors to the defunct  Uniwide Sales and Realty Development Corporation as its partner in the long overdue development of the city’s public market.

Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong admitted having met with the new set of lawyers of the corporation last week in Manila where Uniwide proposed some conditions for the company to be still part of the project to allow it to recover the alleged P300 million it incurred during the pendency of the case.

However, the Mayor informed the Uniwide lawyers that the company’s proposals to be able to be part of the implementation of the market modernization project were unacceptable.

Among Uniwide’s proposals was for it to be allowed to invite business partners in the implementation or for the same to sell the project to a liquid developer so that it can recover the losses it incurred during the pendency of the case filed by embattled market vendors’ associations that questioned the constitutionality of the market development ordinance and the validity of the contract entered into between the company and the city government on August 24, 1996.

Magalong claimed the city government is firm in pursuing the development of the market in partnership with the concerned stakeholders to meet current needs.

One of the present administration’s 15-point collective agenda is for the city to have a modernized public market that is culturally-inspired.

Earlier, the city government informed the court assigned liquidator of Uniwide it already considered the market development contract between them and the city deemed terminated and that the city opposes the proposed assignment of the same to a subsidiary.

In turn, the city created a technical working group composed of private and public architects to prepare the comprehensive conceptual plan of the modernized market that will be the basis for the detailed project feasibility study.

In 1995, the City Council passed Ordinance No. 038, series of 1995 prescribing the guidelines for the proposed development of the public market that resulted to the crafting of the plans that paved the way for the conduct of a bidding for the P1.7 billion market development based on the previous computations.

On August 24, 1996, the city government awarded the market development project to Uniwide being the lone complying and responsive bidder, but the same was questioned by some groups of market vendors who assailed the award of the contract and the case dragged for over twenty years following the rulings of the lower and appellate courts in favour of the city government’s market development plan that would have made the same as one of the most modern market structures north of Metro Manila.

By Dexter A. See

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