Baguio, SM negotiation teams start preliminary talks

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BAGUIO CITY – The preliminary talks between the members of the negotiation teams of the city government and SM Prime Holdings for the crafting of the terms of reference of the proposed development of the city public market started anew with the determination of the timetable and the activities to be undertaken  for the said purpose.

City Administrator Bonifacio dela Peña stated that from January 6 to 31, 2021, both the members of the negotiation teams comprising the financial and technical committee will be meeting separately to discuss their own timeframe, matrix of the terms and the agreed conditions to be presented to the scheduled meeting of all the members of the negotiation teams on February 2, 2021.

He said that between February 8-12, 2021, the initially agreed terms will be presented to Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong for approval to allow the negotiation teams to proceed to the next step of the process enshrined in the city’s Public-Private Partnership for the People (P4) ordinance.

Once the city chief executive approves the proposed terms of reference, the city administrator said that the 45-day formal negotiation process will be conducted between the parties from February 15 to March 31, 2021 where series of meetings will be done to formulate the final terms of reference for the city’s market development project that had been stalled over the past 24 years.

According to him, if the parties agree on the final terms of reference for the project, the same will be subjected to a public consultation between April 5-9, 2021 where concerned stakeholders can raise their issues and concerns on the agreed terms.

He stipulated that the approved terms of reference for the project will then be subjected to the Swiss Challenge on April 16, 2021 where all interested companies will be invited to present their best offer for the realization of the proposed development of the public market.

However, dela Peña explained that SM Prime Holdings which was given the Original Proponent Status (OPS) by the city will be given the right to match the best offer as part of the process enshrined in the P4 ordinance.

He pointed out that if both parties will not agree on the terms of reference for the project during the negotiation period, then the whole process will be considered a failure thus the succeeding processes will not be conducted.

Earlier, the P4 Selection Committee awarded the OPS for the market development project to Robinsons Land Corporation but the same was subsequently reversed by Mayor Magalong following the recommendations made by an independent committee he created to evaluate the decision of the committee where the OPS was eventually granted to SM Prime Holdings.

He clarified that the city never awarded the market development project to SM Prime Holdings because there are processes that have to be followed under the P4 ordinance and that the grant of the OPS is just part of the overall procedures in selecting the company that will development the facility in partnership with the city government.

By Dexter A. See