February 7, 2023

Baguio residents are hopeful city officials led by Mayor Benjamin Magalong will select the best deal over the planned major development of the public market.
This, after Magalong clarified on Monday that contrary to claims, the award of the public market development is a done deal.
He said he has not yet acted on the recommendation of the Public-Private Partnership for the People (P4) screening committee that voted in favor of the proposal of Robinson’s Land Corp. 
The mayor said his administration will remain transparent in its dealings with the market development and he wants publication of the actions made by the P4 selection committee, including how members voted on the holder of the original proponent status (OPS).
City Administrator Bonifacio dela Peña reported last week that around 15 multi-national companies have signified their intention to participate in the Swiss challenge following reports that RLC was granted the OPS. 
A Swiss challenge is a method of bidding where an interested party initiates a proposal for a project. After naming the OPS, government then publishes details of the proposal and invites other bidders. Upon receipt of bids, the contractor with the OPS gets an opportunity to match the best bid and can still land the project.
RLC plans to construct two buildings – one will accommodate the vendors and the other structure will function as a mall. It intends to lease the facility for 50 years with an automatic contract renewal of 25 years. In terms of advance lease payment, RLC’s offer is at P38,000 per square meter upfront and over time.
The other proponent, SM Prime Holdings, Inc. (SM Prime), proposes a wider gross leasable area of 34,000 sqm, or giving space to over 5,300 stalls compared with RLC which can only accommodate roughly 4,000 stalls at 24,000 sqm. Its proposed advanced lease payment is relatively higher at P76,000 per sqm upfront.
SM Prime has allocated P632 million for relocation site as part of its overall proposed P2.32 billion budget, as it anticipates a possibly disruption of the public market business during the course of construction. 
A conglomeration of market vendors’ groups is also interested to participate in the bid to develop the market.
Dela Peña, meanwhile, said if the mayor will go by present screening outcome, negotiations between the city government and RLC will proceed with finalization of the terms of reference (TOR) detailing the project, all within 45 days. 
Once the city publishes the TOR, the Swiss challenge takes place.
Magalong, however, said his office will review the recommendation of the P4 selection committee, saying the city needs to be meticulous on unsolicited proposals, as the market development is on the list of the city’s 15-point agenda. – Harley F. Palangchao with reports from PIO