February 6, 2023

SM Prime Holdings, Inc. (SMPHI) has accepted the original proponent status (OPS) for the lease and development of the Baguio public market conferred to it on Oct. 14 by Mayor Benjamin Magalong.

In a letter addressed to Magalong dated Oct. 27, SMPHI Asst. Vice President Marc Janssen Pe asked, among others, the terms of negotiation from the city government’s end.

In an interview, City Administrator Bonifacio dela Peña said the negotiation process will begin after the mayor has introduced the members of the negotiating panel to SMPHI.

The same members of the Public-Private Partnership for the People (P4) Selection Committee will comprise the negotiating panel, with dela Peña as overall chair and chair of the technical committee.

City Budget Officer Leticia Clemente will chair the financial committee with representatives of civic groups, the local chapter of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and vendors associations as observers.

The target duration of negotiation is 80 days based on the P4 ordinance but this could take longer or shorter depending on the outcome of talks.

Dela Peña said negotiation with SMPHI will not automatically mean that the company is already the winning developer.

He said if both parties agree, the terms and conditions of development will be presented to the public through a hearing for additional inputs before the drafting of final terms of reference, which will then be subjected to a Swiss challenge.

Companies or groups that missed the chance to participate in the submission of OPS still have a chance to participate by submitting their proposal during the Swiss challenge.

“Hindi automatic na SM na. Negotiations can also fail at pwedeng mas mahaba pa sa 80 days ang negosasyon,” dela Peña said.

He said SMPHI’s advantage is its proposal will become the template of other companies that wish to challenge its proposal.

He said the city government has prepared for other modes of development in the event the negotiations fail. – Rimaliza A. Opiña