November 26, 2022

Existing vendors at the Baguio City public market are and will remain the priority occupants once its development pushes through and completed, but only if they are the legitimate occupants and are not engaged in subleasing.
Mayor Benjamin Magalong has made the commitment when he met with market vendors in a public consultation on March 10, as he called out the lies being circulated among the vendors that the market will be managed by the developer that will be awarded the project, and that the project is already a done deal.
The market vendors, during a dialogue with the Public-Private Partnership for the People (P4) Selection Committee on March 4, raised fears they will be on the disadvantaged side once the PPP mode of market development pushes through.
But Magalong reiterated there is no truth to the information that the winning developer will be managing the market operations.
“May mga taong gumagawa ng storya na kapag naitayo ang market, ang developer na rin ang mamamahala. Ito ay kasinungalingan. Ang siyudad ang siyang mamamahala dahil ito ay pag-aari natin at walang pakialam ang kompanyang mananalo sa pag-aayos ng market,” Magalong said.
He said the city government will conduct a second round of inventory of market stalls to determine the stall lessees and actual vendors and assign these stalls to whoever should be the rightful occupants.
“The intention of the city government is that whoever is occupying the stalls right now, na talagang nandyan at hindi nagsisinungaling, siya ang may karapatan na mag-occupy ng lugar na ‘yan at kung sakaling naitayo na ‘yan after development, ang priority ay ‘yung talagang nag-occupy ngayon. Hindi yung nagrerenta na nagpaparenta rin ng pwesto,” said Magalong.
The mayor, who upon his assumption of office, has discovered the mode of leasing and subleasing of market stalls which bloats rental fees to as high as hundreds of thousands, to the detriment of sub-lessees and taxpayers.
He said those who are spreading lies about the market development are those who gained from such scheme, which he described as a glaring example of corruption, and who would be losing once the project pushes through.
“We have always assured you, market vendors will be the priority now and after the market development, as long as it is proved you are the rightful owners. While we are thinking of your best interests, more importantly, we are thinking of the best interests of the 378,000 people of Baguio who deserve a better public market,” Magalong said.
He vehemently denied the project is a done deal with SM Prime Holdings Inc.
He stressed the company was only granted the original proponent status (OPS) and shall follow the process according to the PPP Ordinance.
He said the city through the P4 Selection Committee, chaired by City Administrator Bonifacio dela Peña, will not deviate from the process and will act independently and objectively.
The P4 Committee is currently negotiating 34 terms with SM to come up with the final terms that will be subjected to a Swiss challenge, which allows other parties to challenge the OPS holder’s proposal and offer their own, from which the best proposal will be selected by the city. – Hanna C. Lacsamana

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