July 19, 2024

This is not the first time an attempt to improve and develop the market was made by the powers that be. The past administration was rocked by a scandal when allegations of money changing hands with matching photocopies of checks in the name of a supposed bagman hit the streets of Baguio.
Apo Braulio Yaranon must be turning in his grave since the issue was never resolved.
Then circa 2021 comes SM.
In 1995, the city council passed Ordinance 38, s. 1995 providing the guidelines for the city public market development along with the award of the project development to Uniwide Sales Realty and Resources Corporation (Uniwide) represented by its Chair Jimmy Gow and the amended design (building design, structure, and engineering plan) and build and lease (DBL) agreement, the development scheme adopted for the project.
The original plan approved under the lease agreement forged in 1995 provides for a six-story building with a total cost of P1.7 billion. Uniwide will operate the upper floors for 30 years while the first floor where the main market place and legitimate vendors will be housed will continue to be operated by the city government. Under the initial terms of reference for the development of the city public market, the developable area of the market is approximately three hectares with a five-story building with two basement levels for parking.
The development project was stalled after four cases were filed separately in 1996 by the Baguio Market Vendors Association Inc., Magdalena Navarro, and Elizabeth Dino against city officials and Uniwide by the Hilltop Open Market Vendors Credit and Services Corporation for declaratory judgment, preliminary injunction, and temporary restraining order; Sagayo and Gumnad et.al., for the annulment of Ordinance 38-1995, the award of contract, and the DBL agreement, with prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction and damages, Baguio Market Vendors Association Inc., Magdalena Navarro, and Elizabeth Dino for the annulment of Ordinance 38-1995, the award of contract, and the DBL agreement, with prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction and damages, Calicdan, Dalida et. al., for the annulment of Ordinance 38-1995, the award of contract, and the DBL agreement, with prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction and damages.
The cases were consolidated at the Baguio Regional Trial Court Branch 59 the presided by Judge Iluminada Cabato-Cortez and in 2008, she declared the validity of the Uniwide contract and dismissed the cases, ordered the dissolution of the writs of preliminary injunction issued initially by the court and the cancellation of the injunction bonds, and denied the claims for damages by the parties.
The parties appealed before the Court of Appeals and on Dec. 28, 2012, the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the RTC maintaining the validity and constitutionality of Ordinance 38 s.1995, dismissing the cases, ordering the dissolution of the writs of preliminary injunction issued initially by the court and the cancellation of the injunction bonds and denied the claims for damages by the parties. A motion for reconsideration was filed by the petitioners.
On March 19, 2014, the CA issued a resolution maintaining the validity and constitutionality of Ordinance 38 s.1995 and denying for lack of merit the motion for reconsideration. A petition for review of the CA’s’ earlier decision was filed before the Supreme Court and on Sept. 2, 2015, the SC affirmed the CA’s decision maintaining the validity and constitutionality of Ordinance 38 s.1995.
On March 14, 2016, the SC denied with finality the motion for reconsideration filed by the market vendors groups, thus upholding the validity of the city government’s 1995 contract with Uniwide for the development of the city public market, stating that “there is no substantial argument to warrant a modification of the court’s resolution, which quashed the petition for review.”
With the finality of the decision, the city was now free to pursue its development goals with regards to the city market.
Uniwide wrote the city government signifying its intention to continue the project to feature an eight-story edifice while also assuring the company’s capability to undertake the long-shelved project. It promised the city it will submit a new building design and structure and engineering plan within six months to one year.
The documents will include the new cost estimates.
Unfortunately, Uniwide experienced financial troubles and declared itself bankrupt and its quest for development ended there.
Bitter indeed – 15 years of litigation, yet nothing. The ultimate losers are our people. The same thing is happening all over again.
A happy 112th Charter Day anniversary to the city!
Sigh.