New Minglanilla public market

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Friday, August 8, 2014


IT WAS during the campaign period for the 2013 elections when I first heard about the public market project in Minglanilla town. I was walking along the road near the parking lot on the lower ground fronting the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish church one morning when I espied a gathering at the upper level of the town plaza nearby.

I saw the late mayor Eduardo Selma speaking in front of a crowd sheltered from the rays of the risen sun by a big tent. He was frail but had obviously recovered a bit from the ravages of cancer. He chose to run again, but only for the less taxing position of town councilor.

One of the projects he mentioned as among his legacies as the town’s long-serving chief executive was the multi-million-peso public market. That got stuck in my mind considering the situation in the town’s old public market. The place was decaying, chaotic and overcrowded.

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Yesterday, the Minglanilla Municipal Government, led this time by Mayor Elanito Peña (Selma died in February this year), transferred the vendors in the old market to the new one less than a kilometer away, in Ward 1, Poblacion. The transfer was done using both persuasion and force.

I went to the old market in the morning and surveyed the mess left behind by the closing of the old structures and the clearing of the surrounding streets. The resistance by some of the vendors was still apparent in the decrepit building housing the meat and fish section. A group of vendors continued selling through the padlocked iron grill.

The protesting vendors pleaded for support from the Minglanilla public and distributed leaflets that outlined the questionable projects of the municipal government. But I walked away knowing that the resistance was futile. Most of the vendors had decided to transfer.

The new market is located at the edge of a large rice field at the back of the town’s sports complex. Soil was dumped on the rice plots and its edges lined by cemented roads and drainage system. Three interconnected structures have risen there housing the stalls for the meat, fish and dry goods sections.

Some stalls, though, were too small and the rentals of all the stalls weren’t cheap.

That’s what some of the vendors told me.

One undeveloped vacant space was used to accommodate the vendors selling fruit and other items. These vendors previously occupied the surrounding streets of the old market. This time, they didn’t have much of a protection from the sun’s heat.

They seemed to be mere after-thoughts by the town officials. They will have to wait until the seedlings of trees planted around the new market will grow big enough to produce shades.

What caught my attention was the number of parking slots. Private and public utility vehicles will no longer be displaced like they were in the old market. That means even the riding clientele will already be able to frequent the place.

The market is surely the biggest project of the municipality in decades. Aside from the millions of pesos spent for the market itself, the town council had to come up with supplemental budgets for road concreting and drainage construction. But the project can be a game-changer as far as the town’s poblacion is concerned.

As to whether expenses for the structure and the roads and drainage system were money well spent, I don’t know. Some walls had to be torn down to make some of the stalls bigger. Asphalting on portions of the passageways and parking spaces was shoddy. In one portion, the asphalt looked like big sea waves, only that these were solid and black.

That’s actually another interesting topic to discuss later.

(khanwens@gmail.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 09, 2014.

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