Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
After a couple of failed bid attempts, first because there were not enough bidders, second because the interested parties failed to meet the floor price of P19,500 per square meter for the 7.7 hectares of prime property owned by the Negros Occidental provincial government, bidders SM Prime Holdings and Ayala Land were supposed to submit their proposals tomorrow in a negotiated bidding.
The property up for lease and sale consists of 7.7068 hectares along Lacson Street, North Capitol Road, and Aguinaldo Street in Bacolod City. Of this, 3.6 hectares is up for sale while the 4.1 hectares directly surrounding the Capitol area is up for lease. Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. believes that this will be the biggest investment in the province so far and that if it pushes through, the project will definitely change the landscape of Bacolod City. The governor wants to ensure that the winning bidder will offer what is most advantageous to the province and its people. Another major consideration in the evaluation of the proposals is that the development plan must conform to the cultural and aesthetic requirements of Negrenses.
Considering that this could indeed be the biggest investment in the province and that the area involved is a prime location, whoever will be evaluating the submitted proposals will have a lot on their hands. First of all they will have to ensure that the provincial government is properly compensated for the land that will be sold and leased. Once that is out of the way, there is the task of figuring out which proposal is best for the province and its people. Which bid has the best long term effects? Which one will generate the most sustainable business and employment opportunities?
It is quite unfortunate, therefore, that what was expected to be a smooth and amicable result of the Governor’s efforts to comply with all the required processes before the property is awarded to the most deserving offeror, has obviously turned sour when one of them, the SM Prime Holdings Inc. has filed a case for certiorari with application for a temporary restraining order yesterday against the officials of the province headed by no less than Governor Alfredo Marañon.
There is only one other bidder for the property, and that is Ayala Land, but, so far, no decision or awarding has been made on the property yet. It is therefore puzzling to residents of this province and city, that this negotiation had to come to this point. For most, this development just leaves a bad taste in the mouth, to say the least.*