BAGUIO

Weygan-Allan: Parang kami ang bad guys

Sangal di Kultura

PEOPLE heard me say that in one city council session and are asking why I said that. Let me explain a bit. This started with a review of existing city council resolutions that revealed remain unimplemented since 2013.

So as the Baguio City Market Authority (BCMA) start implementing it after over six years and my committee in the market seeks for its implementation, the people (vendors, their families and supporters) have raised issues of “hindi kami nakakatinda kung alisin níyo kami dito sa lugar” between the wet market and the shoe section on top of a city road.

In 1992, a city council resolution has allowed them to be relocated there because they were victims of the earthquake. It was a basic understanding that it is temporary. Along the way the vegetable market vendors in the old market have been complaining that their sales have suffered with the presence of the vegetable market beside the wet market and the presence of roving vendors selling vegetables inside the market and the central business district.

These issues have not been addressed and so some of them have resulted to mixed product items like souvenirs as the vegetables were now being sold in almost all areas of the market roving vendors, block three, private markets along Kayang Barangay, and elsewhere.

In 2013, the city government decided to improve the market with Block 3 and Block 4. In a city resolution they were told to move to the newly constructed Block 4 market, but they refused. So the blockage and the return to hilltop was never implemented.

This January the vegetable market vendors led by Ms. Ibasco, their secretary and their president, in temporary relocation site in between the wet market and the shoe section came to the city council to seek to nullify their current verbal agreement with our mayor to self-demolish and vacate the area.

The mayor first gave them notice to clear the road in October 2019, this was moved to November 2019 after they requested for extension. Then in early December 2019, they again plead to the mayor and so it was finally moved to January 6.

On the morning of January 6 when the city employees went to survey the area if their promise to self-demolish, the vendors told them they will not demolish as they have a citizen’s forum at the city council on that afternoon.

After a lengthy discussion, majority of the council voted to allow them to stay put until another relocation site for them is ready. Who knows when the relocation site is identified, they will reject it again, like they rejected to return to hilltop in the newly erected Block 4 market in 2013.

Let it be remembered that the laws, especially ordinances are made into law after at least four hearings in the city council. It includes first reading and referral to the proper committee, the second reading before publication, second reading after publication and the third and final reading. It is in the second reading that public hearings, opinions and discussions are conducted. However, good legislators will conduct a consultation before it is even drafted into the first reading. In that way governance that emanates from the community is recognized and are fed into the legislative processes.

The force and strength of the ordinance and a resolution is in its implementation. Unfortunately, the reason it is not sometimes implemented is when the lawmaker themselves withhold the implementation of the law in terms of exemptions.

Bakit kami ang bad guys when we only want to implement the law for the betterment of a greater majority? Cleared road, equal opportunity and competition among vendors in the market, to implement the law regardless that some are relatives of people in city hall. Bakit kami ang bad guys when we simply try to detach ourselves from people we know so we can render justice and equality in the implementation of the law?

This is frustrating for a public servant.


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