UNSOLICITED proposals are prone to "underground arrangements."

This was Cebu City Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella's statement as he backs the executive department's move to sell the 45.2-hectare lot at the South Road Properties (SRP) through public bidding.

In an interview with Sun.Star Cebu yesterday, Labella said he is not amenable to disposing of the lots by inviting investors to submit unsolicited proposals.

"Under our system, the bidding should be participative, fair and open to all locators. If it is an unsolicited proposal, it is the investor who identifies the price. It is the investor who sets the requirements. It is also susceptible to underground arrangements," he said.

Labella, a laywer, then invoked the Republic Act 9184 otherwise known as the Government Procurement Reform Act, which requires public bidding to extend equal opportunity among the interested buyers.

He said that a public bidding is "more transparent" and that the City will get the best deal and best offer.

Labella then said that unsolicited proposals are only encouraged on programs and projects that need technical expertise or new technology. An example of which is the Bus Rapid Transit.

"However, the sale of the SRP lots does not require technology or special skills. I subscribe to the view of the mayor that it should be public bidding," Labella also said.

Preferred

The vice mayor said that City Ordinance (CO) 2332 or the Ordinance Protecting the SRP and its Stakeholders from Unlawful and Unauthorized Transactions and Dealings passed in 2012 only states that the "preferred" mode of disposal for the SRP lots is unsolicited proposal.

The sale of the SRP lots through public bidding is covered by an August 2014 resolution passed by the Council, authorizing Mayor Michael Rama to negotiate and dispose the 45.2-hectare lot through public bidding.

Councilor Sisinio Andales earlier questioned why SRP lots will be sold through public bidding, which is contrary to CO 2332.

Andales said a resolution cannot supersede an ordinance, prompting him to refer the matter to the Department of Interior and Local Government Manila for comment.

Because of this, Andales wanted the executive department to hold in abeyance the bidding of the SRP lots on June 30.

He also said that some interested buyers have raised several concerns on the terms of reference.

But Mayor Michael Rama had already said though that the June 30 bidding will push through.