BAGUIO CITY – The city government has no legal basis to unilaterally rescind the 20-year old contract it signed with Uniwide Sales and Realty Resources Development Corporation for the development of the old city public market in order to catch up with the state of the public markets in other major cities and first-class towns in Northern Luzon.
Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan said that the local government cannot unilaterally rescind the contract as upheld by the Supreme Court (SC) in the case filed by Jadewell Parking Systems Corporation against the city council after it unilaterally rescinded the agreement entered into between the corporation and the city sometime in 2001.
“We do not want to be exposed in another similar legal suit to be filed against the city once we will unilaterally rescind the existing market development contract like what happened in the case of Jadewell against the city council. We learned our lessons from the past that is why we do not want to commit the same mistake that will significantly affect the image of the city,” Domogan stressed.
He clarified that Uniwide officials, in their previous letter to him, signified their intention to pursue the development of the city public market because they have partners that will help them bankroll the realization of the multi-billion project contrary to what is being circulated that the company is already bankrupt and can no longer pursue the market development project.
According to him, the groups of market vendors were given a chance to develop the city public market right from the start but because of their failure to organize themselves into the suggested corporation or cooperative to handle the project, they were not able to do so, thus, the city government was constrained to bid out the project where Uniwide was declared the complying and responsive bidder.
IN fact, the city mayor revealed that the proposal to develop the market emanated from the Baguio Market Vendors Associations (BAMARVA) through Resolutions No. 1 and @ which was used by the local government as the basis in crafting Ordinance No. 38, series of 1995 which prescribed the guidelines for the development of the city public market.
On the revived proposal of the vendors for them to be the ones to develop the market, Domogan pointed out that the contract, which was upheld by the Regional Trial court (RTC), Court of Appeals (CA) and the Supreme Court (SC), is still existing, thus, if they desire to do so, then they must directly negotiate with Uniwide management considering that the city government has no power to do so.
Domogan encouraged the market vendors to understand the position of the city because the market development contract still exists and that there is no way that the local government can unilaterally rescind the contract without the consent of the developer.
He asserted the city government will be in charge of the operation and management of the first floor and mezzanine of the new structure to be put up by Uniwide considering that it was designated by the developer as the area that can accommodate all the legitimate vendors who were the subject of a previous done for the purpose of ascertaining the number of vendors that will be affected. Prior to pursuing the development of the market, the developer must first construct the relocation site of the affected vendors within the Slaughterhouse Compound.
By Dexter A. See