BACOLOD CITY - Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez said on Monday the city government is considering a public-private partnership (PPP) to develop the famous Manokan Country here into a prime tourist destination.
"We want to improve it. It lacks many things, the physical venue itself, the kitchens, the restrooms. There are areas we can upgrade and improve. We are looking at the proposals coming from the PPP proponent," he said in a press briefing.
Located at the Reclamation Area, the Manokan Country is a row of food stalls mainly serving charcoal-grilled chicken or chicken inasal, which Bacolod is known for.
Last week, integrated property developer SM Prime Holdings Inc. presented to the city government a revised unsolicited proposal for the development of the Manokan Country together with the adjacent Vendors' Plaza.
"All the development will be geared towards making it a tourist destination. We know for a fact that Manokan Country is the pride and joy of the city and we would like to elevate it to be more viable," Benitez said.
Last October, online food critic TasteAtlas.com ranked chicken inasal as the fifth best chicken dish in the world, describing it as a "unique Filipino grilled chicken which originated in Bacolod City and became the signature dish of the entire Visayas region".
Benitez said the city government will know if another proponent will challenge SM Prime's proposal once it is published.
"After the negotiation and once we receive it, we will publish it for a Swiss challenge," the mayor said.
Under Republic Act 7718, which amended RA 6957, "unsolicited proposals for projects may be accepted by any government agency or local government unit on a negotiated basis".
The Swiss challenge system allows third parties to make better offers or challenges for a project during a designated period, and the original proponent then has the right to counter or match any superior offers. (PNA)