LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 63 issued a status quo order preventing the municipal government from enforcing the total closure of the vegetable trading post that would reportedly lead to the displacement of disposers, traders, packers and porters who had been working in the area over the past three decades.
Judge Jennifer Humiding issued the status quo order after a hearing Monday allowing the normal operations of the old trading post until further orders from the court and the rendering of decision relative to the case filed questioning the eviction order.
Earlier, the court issued a 20-day temporary restraining order (TRO) stopping the implementation of the closure of the trading post and the subsequent eviction of the stallholders last February 29, 2016 after finding merits on the petition filed by the affected sectors questioning the decision of the local government to shut down the operation of the old trading post.
The court will be setting further hearings to allow concerned parties from the petitioners and the municipal government as well as other intervenors before ruling on the prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction being prayed for by the petitioners.
However, Mayor Edna C. Tabanda said the temporary legal setback suffered by the municipal government is just part of the process that must be respected as she expressed confidence that the local government will be able to convince the court of the wisdom behind the closure of the old vegetable trading post and its conversion into a cutflower center and a facility to promote the champion products of the town’s `16 barangays.
According to her, the local government will pursue the development of the road leading to the facility which is part of the overall package to improve the trading post in order to advance the interest of cutflower and other champion product producers in the municipality.
It w3as learned that the Department of Agriculture (DA) in the Cordillera downloaded to the municipal government the first tranche of the P30 million the agency committed to the locality for the development of the cutflower center and the facility for champion products from the 16 barangays which must be implemented prior to the upcoming ban on the implementation of projects because of the May 9, 2016 general and automated elections.
Mayor Tabanda said the local government will continue to reach out with the disposers, traders, farmers and other stakeholders in the old vegetable trading post to seek their cooperation so that the implementation of the priority government project will not be unduly delayed so that local cutflower producers will also have a place to stay once the structure will be completed.
The old vegetable trading post will be converted into a center for cutflowers and champion products from the 16 barangays because the vegetable disposers and traders will be slowly transferred to the multi-million Benguet Agri Pinoy Trading Center (BAPTC) , the largest vegetable trading center in the country today which is equipped with state-of-the-art units of equipment to improve the trading of vegetables from the province to the different markets in Metro Manila.
By Dexter A. See