BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan said that the local government will be implementing a staggered development in certain areas of the city public market while the awaiting the decision of the winning developer, Uniwide Sales and Realty Development Corporation, whether or not it is still interested to pursue total rehabilitation of the city’s show window.
The local chief executive said the priority area to be improved by the city will be the old market building along Magsaysay Avenue so that the issues it is a fire hazard and is no longer fit for occupancy will be effectively and efficiently addressed for the safety of the occupants and the market goers.
“We need to undertake the development of the public market because it is our show window and that its development has been long overdue. While we are waiting for the decision of the developer whether or not to pursue the market development project, we have to do something to make our market facility look good,” Domogan stressed.
Uniwide was supposed to implement the development of the public market in 1996 but market vendors questioned the constitutionality of the ordinance that prescribed the rules for the market development and the validity of the subsequent contract entered between the developer and the local government for the implementation of the project.
The Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Baguio City upheld the constitutionality of the ordinance and the validity of the contract but the decision was appealed by the petitioners before the Court of Appeals (CA) where they lost again, until the Supreme Court (SC) ruled with finality that the market development ordinance and the subsequent contract were constitutional and valid.
Domogan underscored that the local government was able to implement the development of Blocks 3 and 4 of the public market that allowed the city to significantly increase market fees being charged to the stallholders who were able to acquire slots in the said facilities.
Earlier, the Baguio Fire Department ruled that the old market building along Magsaysay Avenue was a fire hazard which prompted the State-owned Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) to not grant the required insurance for the said structure, until such time that the local government is able to implement the needed improvements and renovation of the building to guarantee the safety of its occupants and the general public.
Domogan said the City Buildings and Architecture Office (CBAO) will prepare the detailed plans and specifications for the proposed rehabilitation of the old market building so that the funding for the project will be included in the annual budget of the local government next year, or in whatever available sources of funds to guarantee its implementation the soonest.
He claimed that the city public market is the city’s show window for visitors, which is why it is important for the concerned departments of the local government to introduce whatever improvements to the market structures to make it attractive to market goers for them to appreciate the efforts of the city to upgrade the market even without introducing the necessary massive development for a total overhaul of the existing structures.
By Dexter A. See