The ongoing negotiations on the planned modernization of the city public market is moving as planned though its original period has been extended for another 45 days.
City Administrator Bonifacio dela Peña, chair of the Public-Private Partnership for People Selection Committee, said the panel targets to finish the discussions of the technical and financial aspects of the terms of negotiations with original proponent status holder SM Prime Holdings by mid-January 2022 or before the election ban.
He said the parties are targeting to finish the technical aspect soon so that they could move on to the discussions of the financial aspect, which is dependent on the finality of the technical terms.
He reported one development arising from the ongoing negotiations is the adjustment of the areas to be occupied by the market and SM, respectively.
Dela Peña said the talks so far are doing well, with the space for the market to be managed by the city widened from the previous offer.
From the original proposal of 18 percent allotted for market space for the city and 82 percent for use by SM, dela Peña said the parties agreed to adjust the ratio to approximately 70 percent for market space and 30 percent for the proponent.
“Hindi pa kami dumarating sa puntong hindi kami nagkakasundo. Nothing is final yet and we cannot give more details due to the oath of confidentiality, but we could say that the market’s location is good,” he said.
Dela Peña said on the negotiating table at the moment is the traffic impact assessment, which the city negotiators asked the SM to submit to determine the ingress and egress or points of entry and exits and roads that will be used within the market premises.
“The ball is now in the hands of the proponent. The latest we learned is that they hired a very good traffic engineer from University of the Philippines Diliman,” dela Peña said.
He said negotiations were set to resume last Dec. 9 during which SM was expected to present the TIA for discussions.
After the negotiations, the next steps would be the formulation of the terms of reference, complete plan, and the conduct of Swiss Challenge.
Mayor Benjamin Magalong had earlier asked the public to allow the negotiations to push through and gave assurance the city will prioritize what’s best for the city in this project, in response to criticisms when he decided to grant the OPS to SM after it was first given to Robinsons Land Corporation.
Magalong, who identified the city market modernization as one of his administration’s 15-point agenda, reiterated the city is observing transparency and good governance in pushing with the market development and other projects started within the current term. – Hanna C. Lacsamana