Market vendors to dismantle stalls

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Friday, November 25, 2011


OCCUPANTS of Baguio City Public Market’s Block 4 finally agreed to dismantle their stalls, preventing a violent demolition prior to the rehabilitation spearheaded by the City Government.

Mayor Mauricio Domogan announced Wednesday the dialogue between Block 4 occupants and market authorities last November 18 turned out positive as vendors expressed they will cooperate with the City Government’s plans.

With this, the mayor sees no obstacle to the P18-million rehabilitation contract awarded by the City Government to Tryst Builders from being implemented any time soon.

Initially, the city allocated P26-million budget for the rehabilitation of Block 4 but through a bidding process, the city was able to award the project to the lowest bidder.

The mayor claimed the low offer of the contractor for the construction of Block 4 will not affect the temporary structure’s quality and design.

The mayor offered the city demolition team to help vendors dismantle their stalls to speed up clearing operations in the project area.

The mayor said stall owners who barricaded their booths to prevent their demolition will be disqualified from the raffling of stalls.

Earlier, the same group of stall owners threatened to file an injunction before the court to resist the rehabilitation of Block 4.

However, the city maintained its stand to rehabilitate the city’s “show window” to spruce up trade and commerce in the city.

Block 4 of the public market has long been tagged by the Baguio Fire Department as a firetrap, while the City Health Office and City Building and Architecture Office declared structures in the area of the market as a nuisance.

Last year, Uniwide gave a go signal to the city to conduct rehabilitation and construction of temporary structures at the city market.

To recall, Uniwide won the rights for the Design-Build-Lease (DBL) contract of the city market for P1.729 billion in 1995 for 30 years, paving the way for the enactment of Ordinance 38-1995.

In 1996, the Baguio Market Vendors Association Inc., Hilltop Open Market Vendors Credit Calicdan and Lilia Calicdan and others opposed the entry of a private developer resulting to their filing of petitions for the annulment of Ordinance 38-1995, which contains the guidelines for the development of the market, nullification of the contract and the DBL agreement. The case is still pending at the Court of Appeals.

In a 2008 decision of Judge Illuminada Cabatu, the court found the contract between the city and Uniwide as valid, which means permanent construction of structures in the city market is not permitted until the case of the Uniwide deal is finally settled.

However, doubting the capability of Uniwide to develop the market in the past years has dragged the Baguio Public Market’s development at a standstill, prompting the City Government to decide and act on the rehabilitation of the market from local government funds. (JM Agreda)

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on November 26, 2011.

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