Block 3 market stall holders plead for rent amnesty-A A +A
By JM Agreda
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
VENDORS occupying Block 3 and the violet section of the public market in Baguio asked the City Council for ways to settle unpaid obligations with the City Government.
The City Government earlier warned the vendors that they will be removed from their assigned stalls if they continue to be remiss in paying their monthly rentals.
The vendors of the Block 3 section aired their concerns on why they are not being patronized by marketgoers due to continued peddling in front of the Block 3 section of the city market, resulting in their losses and inability to pay their rent on time.
Vendors also complained of the zoning assignments, narrow alleys and design of Block 3, which resulted in fewer customers going to their stalls.
Violet section vendors, on the other hand, appealed for extension of the deadline for their payment as they committed to pay their balances in staggered payments.
Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda said it is unfair for those who have been paying on time that other vendors will be given amnesty while others religiously pay their obligations as well as surcharges if they cannot meet this deadline.
Councilors Joel Alangsab and Philian Weygan-Allan, meanwhile, stressed the importance of discipline among vendors to organize and make market operations orderly.
They added that vendors should be able to follow rules set by the Baguio City Market Authority considering the public market in other local governments are showcase of economic and trade activities in the city.
Committee on Market Trade and Commerce chairman Councilor Perlita Chan-Rondez, meanwhile, asked City Treasurer Alicia Onoza if she is in favor of giving amnesty or waving surcharges to delinquent vendors.
Onoza, however, maintained her earlier stand that amnesty or condonation of surcharges will only encourage vendors not to pay on time.
Onoza also expressed reservations on the proposal of councilors granting vendors a 30-day grace period, stressing vendors must pay corresponding surcharges but said she is amenable to requests of vendors to pay these delinquencies through a staggered payment method.
He, meanwhile, said that the zoning problems have already been resolved while the design problems and stall compartments requested were already forwarded to the City Building and Architecture Office for appropriate action.
Councilor Peter Fianza, for his part, said there should be a follow-up with the City Building and Architecture Office on defects discovered in the design of Block 3 and must be acted upon before the rains arrive.
Chan-Rondez said she will come up with a committee report in the succeeding session to finally resolve concerns of vendors and market authorities.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 13, 2013.