December 2, 2022

Mayor Benjamin Magalong has reiterated the city government is observing transparency and good governance in light of the issues surrounding his decision to award the original proponent status to SM Prime Holdings instead of Robinsons Land Corp. for the market development project.
The mayor’s move has been criticized for alleged violation of the PPP Ordinance by vetoing the P4 recommendation granting the OPS to Robinsons, and instead created an ad hoc committee to review the two developers’ proposals.
The ad hoc committee showed SM’s proposal is more substantial than Robinsons, as it found that the company has submitted incomplete documents.
The PPP Center, which serves as the central coordinating and monitoring agency for all PPP projects in the country, issued an opinion that based on the PPP Ordinance, the recommendation to proceed with the award of an OPS should have stemmed from P4-SC, not from the ad hoc committee formed by the mayor.
PPP Center Executive Director Ferdinand Pecson said while the PPP Ordinance does not preclude the mayor from forming an ad hoc committee to evaluate unsolicited proposals, the ordinance explicitly vests said function upon the selection committee.
Magalong said the PPP opinion was based on flawed information because it is not true that he only based his decision on the ad hoc committee’s recommendations.
He said he wrote the P4-SC chair requesting for its evaluation report on the two unsolicited proposals. The P4-SC, chaired by City Administrator Bonifacio dela Peña, provided the mayor a matrix comparing both proposals, which, Magalong said, came up with the same findings as that of the ad hoc committee.
Magalong said the question is why the P4-SC recommended Robinsons for the OPS despite lacking substance and documents.
“We even wrote Robinsons to provide us with more information but they said they will only do so if they are granted the OPS. Don’t you think something is wrong?” Magalong said.
He said he vetoed the P4-SC recommendation when he observed something was wrong with Robinson’s proposal.
“This is our first PPP project. It will impact on our credibility if we show that we do not know how to evaluate unsolicited proposals and would proceed even when we knew that it resulted from a flawed process,” Ma-galong said.
He reminded the project has not been awarded yet as negotiation with SM is ongoing and still has a long way to go before a deal will be reached.
Councilor Mylen Yaranon said while the PPP Center cannot dictate on local government units pursuing PPP projects what to do, its opinion is not merely an opinion because it is tasked as the overseer of PPP projects.
In the case of the market development, she said what the mayor should have done after making his observations on the unsolicited proposals is to refer his concerns back to the P4-SC and let the P4-SC decide.
Magalong said once he sees anything disadvantageous to the city in the course of the events, he will not pursue the project. – Hanna C. Lacsamana