Saturday July 21, 2018

Baguio City bans cooking of food in night market

THE Baguio City Market Authority [BCMA] is implementing change at the Harrison road night market.

BCMA has approved the expansion of the night market to Perfecto street as well as the frontage of the Igorot Park to accommodate loyal walk -ins who have done business with the city for years.

Aside from the expansion, BCMA has now banned cooking at the entire stretch of the night market citing violations on cleanliness and sanitation.

Councilor Leandro Yangot, representative of the local council to the BCMA, said violations of the food vendors from the night market have long been pointed out but has fallen on deaf ears.

Yangot cited an incident where Mayor Mauricio Domogan slipped sometime due to the cooking oil left uncleaned.

The local law maker added the health department has repeatedly asked the BCMA to ban cooking at the area citing unsanitary practices and health risks involved in the products.

Vendors were also reported to throw used cooking oil into the drainage as well as plant boxes in the park area which has alarmed the City Environment and Parks Management Office.

Yangot said the food vendors are not allowed to cook in the area until further notice from the BCMA.

Night market vendors went to the City Council to appeal the decision of the BCMA on Monday but were advised to follow decisions of Domogan who stands as chairman of the body.

Anita Arellano, Julia Cruz, Sisinando Monderin and Maribel Payuyu lamented the decisions of BCMA on allowing extension areas saying there is not enough space for present vendors to begin with and said accepting walk in will compound the situation.

At present, there are almost 1,200 vendors converging in the night market with 93 vendors selling food products.

The night market started in 2007 when vendors of ukay-ukay stalls along Calderon street started selling their ware at night on makeshift tables as well as on the pavements.

For the past years, a night market has morphed into a destination of sorts, with vendors filling a lane in at Harrison road with stalls of dry goods and food.

A lane of the road closes at around 9 p.m. nightly to give way for vendors to set up their makeshift shops, trading goes on until past midnight while a nightly regulation fee of P50 is collected from the vendors.

Along the night market stretch, one can see a myriad of products apart from the original ukay-ukay, there are brand new ready to wear items, souvenirs, electronics, house wares, kitchen ware and jewelry, food stalls have also invaded the area selling street foods.

Based on data obtained from the City Treasury Office, the night market operation is generating some P1.5 million monthly income for the local government.