PUBLIC-private partnership (PPP)-funded projects in the pipeline are moving forward, including many big-ticket projects such as the Baguio market redevelopment, which has finally come out of the lengthy negotiation phase with original proponent status (OPS) holder SM Prime Holdings.
According to Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong, the market project, which has been one of his administration’s key projects, has concluded negotiations and is now in the process of writing the official terms of reference.
“We are now done with negotiation and crafting the terms of reference. Once the terms are completed, we will publish the Swiss challenge,” Magalong said.
The Swiss challenge stage is the part of the PPP process when the OPS, who up to this point in the process has sole input on the project design, can be matched by counter-offers from opposing proponents, which the government can then choose to go with.
In the Swiss stage, proponents can propose to execute the approved plan for a lesser cost than the OPS’s, but the OPS also has the opportunity to return fire with another counter proposal to top the opposing proponent; thus, using competition to create the best possible option for the local government.
A known opposing proponent is the Baguio Market Vendors Association (BAMARVA), but their bid was rejected in the initial OPS selection process in favor of SM.
BAMARVA, rejected for technicalities and incomplete paperwork back in 2020, declared as early as that year that they will refine their proposal, which already had the support of certain lawmakers and a portion of the populace at the time, and come back to challenge SM once the Swiss stage begins.
Magalong meanwhile said that some 70 percent of the PPP projects that the city is pushing are still in the earlier stages in the hands of the PPP for the People (P4) Committee, the body tasked to review PPP proposals and veto the ones that would not be efficient or beneficial enough for the local government.
Some key PPP projects that Magalong confirmed had moved past the initial review phase were the intermodal terminal project that would see a transport hub established in the city for better management of its transportation and traffic, as well as the Smart Mobility Transportation System, another project aimed at improving transportation coverage and traffic flow in the city.
“The Smart Mobility Transportation System, we have given the OPS to Metro Pacific Tollways, who are handling tollways all across the country and own the long bridge (CCLEX) in Cebu,” Magalong said.
The terminal has also proceeded to the OPS awarding stage, but Magalong did not say which contractor has been awarded the OPS for the same.
Other key projects such as the creative center to be situated where the city auditorium currently is, the city’s various housing projects, and parking buildings, among others, are in the initial review process and nearing the awarding of OPS, according to Magalong.