IN THE span of five years, a lot of things happened to the famed Roxas night market in Davao City. It paved way for dreams to come true for vendors given the chance to sell in the said area. It has become one of the tourist attractions in the city as it mirrored the simple life of the Dabawenyos.

Along with its development are challenges that scarred many like the bombing in September 2, 2016, which left 17 people dead and 69 others wounded. The unfortunate event did not stop the operation, hence, led to a more improved security.

Assistant city administrator for operations lawyer Lawrence Bantiding estimated that the night market now has 3,000 goers a day, both locals and tourists. He said that every year the number of goers is significantly increasing because aside from its convenient location at the heart of the city, the night market continues to offer budget-friendly food, ukay-ukay and ready-to-wear clothes (RTWs), accessories, massage, among others.

With the boost of goers, the city received more than 3,000 application this year to sell in the night market but it could only accommodate 130 tenants for accessories area, 130 for the RTWs, 116 food vendors, and more than a hundred massage therapists in every three-month shift.

The number of allowed vendors in the city was lessened as it had to be decongested for security purposes. Reshuffling was done with more applications this year which mean less chance to be included in the list. This prompted complaints from vendors who only have the night market for a living.

“The Roxas night market stretch got longer but the number of vendors decreased because we have put an alley for the goers,” Bantiding said in vernacular, adding that the two by three (2x3) front section is currently three by three (3x3) since there have been complaints that the area is too narrow for the goers and the vendors.

Presently, the Tiangge sa Katawhan Management team is set to implement the installation of LED lights to have a more energy efficient lights and to require night market vendors to use transparent tents to maximize illumination. They are also planning to prohibit the use of electricity generators but the details are still under discussion.

The authorities assured not only the safety and security in the night market but also the sanitary practices in food and beverages. However, just recently, the City Health Office (CHO) sanitation unit confirmed that there were some vendors who violate the sanitary standards set by the city and said that they will address the matter by monitoring the stalls more often to avoid harming the public health.

Committee on health chair Councilor Mary Joselle Villafuerte suggested that the night market should be put somewhere where hygiene facilities are available such as hand washing areas and comfort rooms.

Meanwhile, CHO sanitation unit inspector Curtis Lazarraga said that those who would continue to violate the sanitary standard and guidelines will surely be delisted.

More areas are still to be improved and the city is doing its best to address these issues and concerns even if some will take a long time to be implemented. Despite the ups and downs of the Roxas night market, it has still become a tourism landmark and a regular destination. And the night market will always be a part of this booming city.