THIRD TIME’S THE CHARM?: City Hall revives PPP scheme in ‘Super’, Central markets rehab

Personnel of the Local Economic Enterprise Office (LEEO) and Bureau of Fire Protection-Iloilo City station conduct flushing operations at the Iloilo Central Market. The City Hall is eyeing a partnership with SM Group to rehabilitate the Central Market and Iloilo Terminal Market or “Super.” (LEEO photo)

The Iloilo City government is set to partner with SM Prime Holdings under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) scheme in restoring two of the biggest public markets in the city.

Mayor Jerry Treñas revealed the plan in his regular press conference Monday at City Hall.

According to Treñas, SM Prime Holdings Inc. has expressed its intention to partner with Iloilo City for the rehabilitation of the Iloilo Terminal Market or “Super” and the Central Market.

“Isa sa proposals naton gahulag na. Ini amo ang PPP para sa aton Terminal and Central markets. Ang interesado amo ang SM Prime Holdings,” he said.

The mayor said the PPP Center is currently preparing for the pre-negotiation and meetings with the interested party. He said that the result of the negotiation will be submitted to Swiss Challenge.

The PPP Center provides technical assistance to national government agencies (NGAs), government-owned-and controlled corporations (GOCCs), government financial institutions (GFIs), state universities and colleges (SUCs), and local government units (LGUs) to help develop and implement critical infrastructure and other development projects.

The mayor has sought the help of PPP Center to solicit help from the private sectors for the funding of the big-ticket projects of Iloilo City such as the revamp of the Iloilo Terminal and Central markets.

“Kag aton PPP Council sige na meet, gaprepare na sila para sa pre-negotiation nga matters and issues itake up nila kay sugod bwas start na meeting.  Kon ang resulta sang negotiation, amo na ina ang offer para nga isubmit sa swiss challenge sang SM Prime,” he said.

Republic Act No. 6957, or the Build Operate Transfer (BOT) law, describes Swiss Challenge as the system to be followed when projects are procured through unsolicited proposals from private sector.

Section 4-A of RA 6957 allows acceptance of unsolicited proposals for projects which do not require direct government guarantee, subsidy, or equity and more importantly, which involves a new concept or technology. Section 10.3 of its implementing rules allows it as long as the proposal involves a new concept or technology.

A project is considered to involve new concept or technology under Rule 10, Section 10.2 of the BOT law IRR if it possesses at least one of the following attributes:

(a) a process which significantly reduces construction costs, accelerates project execution, improves safety, enhances project performance, extends economic life, reduces costs of facility maintenance and operations or reduces negative environmental impact or social/economic disturbances or disruptions either during the construction or operation phase or

(b) a process for which the proponent possesses exclusive rights, either world-wide or regionally or intellectual property rights.

Once the unsolicited proposal is shown to possess the foregoing, it will be subject to the Swiss Challenge before the project is awarded to the proponent.

Section 4-A of the BOT law describes Swiss Challenge procedure as follows:

-Original proponent submits an unsolicited proposal for a qualified project;

-Government will publish for three consecutive weeks, an invitation for comparative or competitive proposals;

-The qualified project shall be awarded to the original proponent if no proposal is received for a period of 60 working days;

-In the event another proponent submits a lower price proposal, the original proponent shall have the right to match that price within 30 working days.


This was not the first time that the Iloilo City government tapped the SM group for the rehabilitation of the city’s public markets.

In 2015, former mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog also proposed the implementation of big projects under the PPP scheme.

Among the big-ticket projects is the redevelopment of public markets, particularly the Central Market.

A joint venture revitalization project for the redevelopment of the Central Market with SM as the partner of the city government was endorsed by the Mabilog administration.

While the proposal was intended to solve the dilapidated Central Market, some stakeholders saw the project as a form of “privatization” and have sparked rallies and confrontations in between both parties. The project was never realized.

During the time of former mayor Jose Espinosa III, another redevelopment project for the Iloilo Central Market without the PPP scheme was also introduced but the project only managed to be presented to the stakeholders and never came into fruition.

This time, Treñas said the PPP project will not be a form of privatization.

He clarified that the proposal will rehabilitate the two public markets but the management of the markets will still be under the Iloilo City government through the Iloilo City Local Economic Enterprise Office (LEEO).

“Ang kinalain sang una ang tong ila nga ginpropose, bilog nga market kuhaon nila, privatization, but subong ang initial agreement kon sin-o masulod sa PPP i-ubrahon ang markets pero kita ma-manage. Kita ma-manage sang markets, ibilin sa aton ang dalom kag ang mga babaw nga floors sila na bahala ka butang sang ila business,” he said.

Based on the initial term of reference, the first floor will be the main market while the second floor will serve as the warehouse or “bagsakan” of the market produce and supplies.

The upper floors will include parking areas for vehicles.

“It will continue to be a market na managed sang aton LEEO pero teh nadevelop na sya, mas maayo na itsura na, maayo ang CR, kag may pababaw kag pasaka,” he said.

The mayor added that the city government is closely coordinating with the vendors and assured that they will not be displaced.

“Ang vendors sige aton meet sa ila para kabalo sila sa sitwasyon. Waay sang may madisplace,” he said.

Aside from the two public markets, the city government plans to undertake other big-ticket projects under the PPP scheme such as the development of the Iloilo City slaughterhouse, Integrated Solid Waste Management, and three areas for reclamation. (DG)