BAGUIO CITY – The management of the Uniwide Sales Realty and Resources Corporation reiterated its serious intention and desire to pursue the multi-billion Baguio market development project pursuant to the terms and conditions of its 22-year old contract with the local government.
In a letter to Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan, Uniwide president Jesus L. Arranza stated that at the moment, the company is finalizing the engagement of a local geodetic and surveying firm that will cause the preparation of a new topography map as well as conduct soil testing at the project in preparation for the realization of the long overdue market development project.
He explained that the results of the preparation of the topography map will allow the company to finalize a revised developed plan for the project that was stalled for over two decades because of the case that was filed by the affected vendors that reached the Supreme Court (SC).
“From time to time, we will submit to the city government updates of our activities for your information, guidance and further needed action,” Domogan stressed.
Earlier, Mayor Domoga wrote Uniwide inquiring on whether or not it could still do business with the local government despite the pending issue on insolvency and liquidation which the company appealed before the Court of Appeals (CA).
Domogan said that whatever will be the response of the company will serve as a basis for the local government to take the necessary steps that will cause the implementation of the market development project that was derailed by the pendency of the case filed by the affected vendors that questioned the constitutionality of the ordinance that prescribed the rules and regulations for the development and the validity of the subsequent contract as an offshoot of the said local legislative measure.
It can be recalled that in 1995, the conceptualized the development of the Baguio public market through the enactment of an ordinance that prescribed the guidelines and rules and regulations for the implementation of the project. In 1996, the local government bidded out the market development project and the same was eventually awarded to Uniwide, which was the lone bidder that was declared as complying and responsive bidder.
However, several vendors questioned the constitutionality of the ordinance that prescribed the rules and regulations and the validity of the subsequent contract because of alleged irregularities in the conduct of the bidding process.
However, a local court declared the constitutionality of the market development ordinance and the validity of the contract after the conduct of numerous hearings. The local court’s decision was eventually upheld by the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court that paved the way for the local government to seek the opinion of the winning developer after it was ordered to undergo liquidation by a Parañque court that was also appealed before the CA.
Uniwide was also requested to submit its updated plans and specifications for the project to ascertain the actual cost of the development considering that the P1.7 billion earlier estimate was done over two decades ago considering that the prices of construction materials increased various folds.
By Dexter A. See