BAGUIO CITY – The Baguio City Market Authority (BCMA) approved a resolution declaring that market stalls are not supposed to be sold, mortgaged or subjected to inheritance by existing stallholders because the stalls are not their properties.
Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan, BCMA chairperson, said stallholders should remember that the stalls that were awarded to the existing leaseholders are the properties of the local government and the right to use the stalls for business activities was conveyed to the vendors through what is called a lease contract which does not mean that the existing occupants own the said stalls.
BCMA is composed of representatives from the various offices of the local government whose functions have direct relation to the operation of the city public market.
Domogan explained it came to the attention of the BCMA that there are some vendors who have actually sold, sub-leased, mortgaged, among others, the stalls awarded to them on a temporary basis because the lease contract is renewed annually.
“The stallholders should be grateful because they can occupy their stalls for a lifetime and their only obligation is to annually renew their contracts and pay the corresponding business fees,” Domogan stressed.
He pointed it is clearly provided in the existing ordinance that stallholders cannot sell, sub-lease or mortgage their stalls, adding that they have no right to simply transfer their stalls to their children because the mode of acquiring a stall for business operation inside the public market is through the conduct of public bidding.
According to him, the massive sub-leasing of stalls and transfer of the stalls to their children have been rampant through the years, thus, the BCMA wants to correct such practice to allow other deserving residents lease a stall in the city public market for their livelihood.
If family members of deceased stallholders want to be awarded a stall in the public market, he added the actual procedure is for the stalls of deceased market vendors to revert back to the local government and it will be the concerned offices of the city to bid out the said stalls to qualified residents.
He suggested to those who are opposed to the said policy adopted by the BCMA to work out the amendment of the ordinance that mandates the conduct of public bidding in the awarding of stalls to interested vendors and to allow the transfer of the stalls of deceased leaseholders to their children or members of their families.
He called on vendors who are trying to make a big issue out of the new BCMA policy to assess the current situation whereby the stalls are actually owned by the local government and what was only conveyed to the leaseholders are the rights of the lessees to occupy and do business in the said stalls, citing that the plan of most vendors to contest the BCMA ruling is welcome on his part.
He remains optimistic that the concerned vendors will understand the implementation of the new BCMA policy is for the greater interest of the public and not for certain quarters only.
By Dexter A. See