29 June 2021 – The city will still pursue the proposed development of the public market through the public-private partnership (PPP) amidst the opinion of the PPP Center that raised an issue on the basis of the award of the Original Proponent Status (OPS) to SM Prime Holdings.

Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong stated that the PPP Center rendered a mere opinion which will simply serve as the city government’s guide in continuing with the ongoing process pursuant to the city’s Public-Private Partnership for the People (P4) ordinance.

He pointed out that city executives were not aware of the decision of some local legislators to seek the opinion of the PPP Center on the validity of the ongoing process to pursue the desired development of the city public market through the PPP.

The city chief executive claimed that the ongoing process being conducted by the P4–Selection Committee which is now in the negotiation stage for the crafting of the final terms of reference for the multi-billion market development project is very transparent pursuant to the present administration’s policy on good governance so there will be no impediment for the city to proceed with the remaining steps in the PPP process.

According to him, the contention of the PPP Center that questioned his basis in awarding the OPS to SM Prime Holdings is based on the wrong information provided by some members of the city council, thus, the need for city officials to dialogue with the PPP Center representatives to clarify their doubts on the basis of the giving of the OPS to the mall developer.

Designated negotiators of the city government and SM Prime Holdings were able to hurdle the challenges of their first meeting held at the City Hall Multipurpose Hall which was opened to the public for their appreciation of the ongoing process.

Earlier, two developers submitted their intention to be awarded the OPS with SM Prime Holdings ended being given the same to allow the 19-step PPP process to proceed to the succeeding stages.

The city mayor asserted that the public market needs to be developed after the earlier proposed development was not realized because of the cases filed by some groups of vendors that questioned the constitutionality of the ordinance that prescribed the rules of the development process and the validity of the subsequent contract signed for the purpose which ended with the Supreme Court (SC) ruling in favor of the city.

In an earlier agreement, the city and SM Prime Holdings agreed to conduct a joint survey of the public market area to ascertain the actual area available for development based on the terms of reference that will be finalized for the said purpose.

Under the proposal of the developer, the area of the public market that will be developed is more than 30,400 square meters while based on the data obtained from the city, the proposed developable area is at least 29,000 square meters.

Both parties are expected to implement the proposed joint survey within two weeks before proceeding with the next stages of the negotiation process which will be done closed doors. – Dexter A. See