BAGUIO CITY – City public market stakeholders underscored that the proposed multi-billion development of the market will not result to the loss of their stalls if such promise is true but it will eventually cause the loss of their sources of livelihood in the long run due to the competition offered by the management of SM Prime Holdings which is being allegedly groomed by the local government to pursue the said project.
In a statement circulated to the members of the media, the concerned market vendors alleged that issuance by the local government of the Original Proponent Status (OPS) to SM and the ongoing negotiations for the final terms of reference for the project is part of the efforts to reportedly tailor-fit the same in favor of the mall developer which is obviously contrary to existing laws, rules and regulations.
The stakeholders argued that there is no businessman in his right mind that will offer a 70-30 sharing of the available spaces in the market in favor of the city once the mall-type project will be developed where the same is not actually guaranteed and that if the same is true, it is another way of tailor-fitting the project in favor of SM for whatever considerations that had been made available.
Some of the vendors, who were randomly interviewed, alleged that obviously, the local government sold the city public market to the developer which seems not to conform with norms and standards of the community, thus, their vehement opposition against the implementation of the said project through the public private partnership scheme.
The stakeholders also questioned the decision of the Public Private Partnership for the People – selection Committee (P4-SC) to impose the signing of a confidentiality agreement among those that will participate in the negotiation process which again runs counter to the supposed advocacy of the local government to be transparent in the conduct of their dealings in the implementation of key development projects that affect the public interest.
According to them, while it is true that they will remain in their stalls once the market will be developed by SM, the stiff completion that will be offered by the all will slowly kill the business activities of the small vendors and eventually, the facility will end up to beg a mall in the future once they will give up their stalls because of the limited income.
The vendors are supportive of the desire of the local government to develop the city public market as the same is already long overdue but it should not be in a manner to convert the facility into a mall that will not be favorable to them in the first place.
To show their support for the said project, the market stakeholders allowed their representatives to actively participate in the crafting of the master development of the market pursuant to the pertinent provisions of Resolution No. 193, series of 2019 which was approved by the local legislative body on July 9, 2019.
The market stakeholders demanded that the implementation of the market development project should not be pursued because it will not be friendly to the vendors that is why the same should be revisited, especially when a new administration will takeover the local government, so that all the pressing issues and concerns should be appropriately addressed before the realization of the same.