Negotiation on Baguio market development underway

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The 45-day negotiation period between the local government and SM Prime Holdings, Inc., the declared holder of the Original Proponent Status (OPS), on the proposed P6 billion city market development project is underway.

However, City Administrator Bonifacio dela Peña, chair of the city’s Public Private Partnership for the People – Selection Committee (P4-SC), stated that no one among the members of the negotiation teams from both parties are at liberty to divulge any discussions during the negotiation process pursuant to the confidentiality agreement both parties signed prior to the commencement of the negotiation process.

He claimed that it is evident that the negotiators of both parties have no agreements or no disagreements on the issues being deliberated in the ongoing negotiation process.

The city administrator assured the residents that the members of the city’s P4-SC will insist on the clamor of the people on the proposed development of the public market and for their counterparts to listen to the citizens’ voices for the negotiation process to advance through the succeeding steps of the prescribed process.

According to him, at this point, the P4-SC members will insist on the 34-point terms which reflects the position of the local government in ensuring that the development of the city public market will be beneficial to the people of Baguio.

Dela Peña explained that when there will be disagreements in any of the 34-point terms, then the negotiation process will be over and it will be again back to the drawing board for the P4-SC to look into future undertakings on how to push through with the proposed multi-million market development project.

Under the city’s P4 ordinance, there are around 19 steps to be undertaken for the implementation of public-private partnership projects starting with the filing of the intention of interested companies of their unsolicited proposals to be initially evaluated by the P4-SC to ascertain which among the proponents will be given the OPS.

One of the present administration’s 15-point collective development agenda is for the modernization of the city public market to be undertaken through the public private partnership.

Earlier, the P4-SC prepared a timetable on how to proceed with the prescribed processes enshrined under the P4 ordinance to guide the members on how the proposed undertaking will proceed.

The local government department head disclosed that both parties will be announcing the results of the negotiation after the lapse of the 45-day negotiation period and that the people should bestow their trust to them as P4-SC members because what they will fight for is the interest of the residents on the proposed development of the public market.

In 1995, the city planned to develop the city public market through a design, build and operate scheme but the same was stalled after various vendors associations filed a case that went up to the Supreme Court (SC) which was decided in favor of the local government 20 years after.

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