Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong has stated the Baguio City Public Market development project issue and said that there is no money involved. The statement of Mayor was posted by the Public Information Office (PIO) -Baguio today, October 23, 2020 (Friday).
“I take exception to allegations that money exchanged hands to make SM Prime Holdings Inc. the Original Proponent Status holder for the city’s market development project.”
“Dito sa Baguio, we exercise genuine, truthful and authentic good governance. Bawal SOP at bawal under the table transactions dito,” Mayor Magalong added.
In the statement of the mayor, he said that the decision to grant SM the original proponent status (OPS) was done in the name of fairness and in compliance with the P4 Ordinance which mandates that proposals be evaluated objectively and based on merit.
He also added that SM’s offer was substantial and Robinsons’ was lacking and he said that a righteous government would never settle for an inferior offer.
“I repeat, the decision to grant SM the OPS was done in the name of fairness and in compliance with the P4 Ordinance which mandates that proposals be evaluated objectively and based on merit. SM’s offer was substantial, Robinsons’ was lacking. A righteous government would never settle for an inferior offer.”
Grant of OPS Doesn’t Mean Done Deal for SM
Mayor Magalong has also reiterated that the grant of OPS does not mean that it is a done deal for SM. “It is just the start and not the end of the process. It simply paves the way for direct negotiations between the City and SM to get the project elevated to the next stage,” Mayor added.
Also, according to the mayor, there will be negotiations, drafting of the terms of reference, and the process called Swiss challenge where Robinsons and any other interested parties including the market vendors’ groups can participate to challenge SM if and when its negotiations with the city succeeds.
Public Market Remains a City Property
The mayor has stated that the public market will remain a city property since it will be merely put on the lease. And, according to Mayor Magalong, the decision that the public-private partnership (PPP) policy guidelines of the P4 ordinance that green-lighted the market re-development project is the better option to take since it will be at no cost to the city.
“The market can now be fully re-developed without the city having to spend for its construction, something the government cannot do on its own finances at this or any prospective time given the pandemic,” Mayor Magalong added.
In addition, “when the negotiation proceeds, rest assured that it will be our uncompromising position that the market stallholders are allotted the first two floors of the facility, are properly relocated during the building period, and will occupy stalls at reasonably agreed upon rates,” says Mayor Magalong.
The mayor has stated that the time has come to restore order in the city’s public market especially in the illegal but tolerated sub-lease arrangements for stalls.
“For many years, residents have been clamoring for a better public market in these modern times. The time has come to restore order in the area, especially in the illegal but tolerated sub-lease arrangements for stalls that are common knowledge. Corruption has become commonplace in the market for far too long.”
Market Re-development project: A step in the right direction
It was stated by Mayor Magalong that the public market re-development project off the ground is definitely a step in the right direction. He added that too much misinformation is being peddled to bring the project back to what it is – a decrepit, disorderly, and depressing sight amid the ambiance of a resurging Baguio. “I just pray that the public will remain discerning and not easily swayed by baseless allegations,” the mayor added.
Furthermore, Maor Magalong promised to pursue the market project beyond politics and without a wisp of corruption. “I promised you a righteous government and I am going to deliver that at the end of my term,” the mayor stated.
Here is the full statement of Mayor Magalong posted on the PIO-City of Baguio Facebook Page:
Source: PIO-Baguio City