Oro government gears at cleaning up markets-A A +A
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
TO MEET the sanitary, safety, and quality standards, the City Government has embarked on a program to clean the public markets.
Engr. Peter Abejuela, the newly appointed public market overseer, said he aims to bring back the trust and confidence of the consumers to patronize the markets here and not just wet markets in the malls.
The image of the public markets as chaotic and unsanitary can be addressed through strictly implementing sanitation and safety standards at Cogon, Carmen, and Puerto public markets for these markets to be consumer-friendly.
Faith Vamenta, a mother of four, prefers to shop at the privately-owned supermarkets located in malls even if the cost of basic commodities are much higher compared with the public markets.
Aside from the comfort of the malls due to the air-conditioned building and finding almost anything a shopper needs, Vamenta said the most important is the assurance of getting fresh cuts of meat and fish.
She would have preferred Cogon market if it is clean and safe because fresh fruits and vegetables and native products are found there at lower costs.
“I am hoping to see a market one day that is clean and orderly just like in other countries,” she said.
In a recent inspection and dialogue with the vendors at Cogon market, the taskforce “Tsada Merkado,” composed of the various departments in the city, were unsatisfied of what they witnessed.
During the inspection last week, Dr. Fe C. Bongcas, the newly appointed city health officer, observed that majority of meat vendors use makeshift tables as extensions of the stalls that narrow the pathway.
Abejuela said the meat vendors’ wooden chopping boards have become the breeding grounds of worms since owners fail to regularly clean them up after a day’s use.
The team also found out that tables are rusty and unsanitary. Cockroaches and worms are seen under the table.
The sights of worms prompted Bongcas to order the vendors to remove the extension tables to be substituted with clean containers and tables.
Failure to comply would mean stiffer penalty will be imposed to the violators, she said.
Unpleasant smell has also been evident even inside the cafeteria section citing that stalls from different sections are all mixed-up and disorganized.
“Everything needs to be changed in order to attain the ‘Tsada Merkado’ goal,” Abejuela said.
Clustering the vendors’ products will also provide order inside the market.
Abejuela opined the problem with Cogon market is mixing up the ‘wet’ and cooked foods section.
He also plans to make unified stalls at the cafeteria, where chairs and tables are placed at the center like a mall’s food court.
Food servers will be required to put on hairnets and food handling gloves to avoid contamination.
An in-house sanitation inspector will be proposed to Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno to address the sanitation challenges in the markets here.
A city veterinarian will also do its part in inspecting the meats to ensure that meat vendors are selling quality products fit for consumption.
Abejuela said all three major markets will have a total makeover from its structures, systems inside the market, and even the old habits of the market vendors.
Cooking inside the market will be prohibited to ensure safety and cleanliness. Only cooked foods will be displayed at the stalls.
The said changes are based on the city’s codified ordinance that has not been implemented in the past.
Toto Padinit, United Market Vendors’ Association president who sells foods at the cafeteria section, is dismayed over Abejuela’s decision.
Padinit believed that prohibiting cooking inside the market will burden the vendors.
Jose Edgardo Y. Uy said Abejuela’s ideas have created misconception from the vendors’ parts.
He believes it was floated to avoid fire hazards and cited that no ordinance prohibits such.
Uy said, “Personally, I agree that cooking is part of the daily routine in the cooked food section of the market.”
Nixon A. Baban has this to say: “Dapat didto lutoon para makita gyud sa atong mata kung gi-unsa pagluto. Usahay ang kahugaw sa kan-anan maoy attraction. When I was a med rep years back in Manila, I would look for an eatery kung asa daghan ga-park na taxi og sakyanan.”
Lito Munoz said eating hot meals inside the market is one of his favorite things.
On the other hand, Maite Abellanosa raised the issue on Agora market situation where it is clean.
“Is it because lahi ra gyud kung privately run ang market? I love eating at Agora kay murag market didto sa Malaysia ang ambiance,” Abellanosa said.
Rustico Villa said, “Dili pwede did-an ang pagluto sulod sa merkado.”
Abejuela said another consultation will be held at the Carmen public market next week.
“Constant communication will be the key to a better market, all it takes is to listen on the side of the vendors as well as explain the government side on what could be best ideas to create conducive public markets,” Abejuela added.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on October 02, 2013.