BAGUIO

Vice-mayor out of People Selection Committee

AFTER overturning the decision of the market selection team, Vice Mayor Faustino Olowan has decided to get out of the group supposed to take charge of overseeing its development.

"I think I can no longer help in the crafting of the best agreement, why? Because my vote was for the other proponent, it is unfair. Whatever I'll do, they will criticize me, because they will say I am bias because I did not vote for them," Olowan said, as he made his decision public on taking a leave from the People Selection Committee (P4-SC).

Olowan said he voted for Robinsons Land Corporation (RLP) along with majority of the City Council by basis of financial gains the City will enjoy before Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong rejected the decision of the committee and proceeded to award the original proponent status (OPS) to SM Prime Holdings Incorporated (SMPI).

The P4-SC met Tuesday afternoon, October 27, amid the backdrop of a multi-sectorial rally outside the Baguio Convention Center (BCC) with stakeholders denouncing the decision to award the OPS to SMPI with placards bearing messages like "No to corporate takeover" and "No SM! You can't have it all."

Close to 50 protesters were peacefully directed by the Baguio City Police Office and Special Weapons and Tactics (Swat) teams to leave the premises amid the meeting of city officials inside the BCC.

Olowan said the stakeholders' protest is within the rights of the people to air grievances, adding that he respects their action but appealed to the groups to join negotiations for the market development, so voices may be heard, as well as recommendations for the now controversial issue.

The vice-mayor reacted to backlash on the awarding of the OPS to SMPI is not tainted on corruption and denounced allegations surrounding the integrity of the P4-SC.

Olowan said the decision of Magalong to award the OPS to SMPI overturning the P4-SC decision will be referred to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) for comments.

"That is another matter. We are not appealing the case, we are just commenting on it. It is up to the DILG," Olowan said.

The meeting was led by City Administrator Boni Dela Peña with Councilors Betty Lourdes Tabanda, Mylen Yaranon, Fred Bagbagen, city budget officer letty Clemente, acting city legal Richard Dayag and city stakeholders.


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