Conservation is an integral part of development. Hence, no development should happen at the expense of conservation, as what seems likely to happen with Consolacion and Dumaguete local government units’ (LGU) respective business development projects.
More importantly, however, development is about equitably improving the quality of people’s lives, starting naturally with the marginalized. It’s about developing facilities small people can use as pathways towards self-reliant progress. It’s not about making big business grow bigger in the hope that small people would catch some spillover benefits.
Exactly what small vendors fear would happen to them if Carbon Market is developed into a world-class facility. Hence this appeal to Cebu City officials that they re-think the inclusion of Carbon Market in their development project with Megawide. Inclusion because I understand Carbon Market sits only over two hectares of the project’s total of 7.8 hectares.
Without question, Carbon market should be developed. But develop only up to the level where it does not lose its basic role of providing a venue for the buying and selling of inexpensive prime commodities by small entrepreneurs and penny pinching Cebuano consumers. It should be developed without losing its unique character and culture that makes it a phenomenal business hub for simple folks.
Lest Cebu City LGU forgets and fails to factor it into the project, Carbon is Cebu Island’s prime farmers’ market. Economy-conscious purchasers and sellers from all over Cebu trade in Carbon, simple folks that might be deterred from selling or purchasing in Carbon because they can’t afford paying higher rent or dare enter a world-class facility looking shabby in their cheap sandals and sandos.
Cebuanos, therefore, from all over the island, should rally around the small vendors and join them in opposing the inclusion of Carbon in the world-class development project. Cebuanos from all over and not just from Cebu City would lose Carbon as the selling and purchasing haven for small entrepreneurs and consumers. A world-class Carbon is not Carbon anymore. It would be a mall of sorts and you know how forbidding malls could be to small people.
Anyway, small vendors are only asking for Carbon to be excluded from the project. Anyway also, small-vendors appear to possess the capacity to organize and develop Carbon market on their own and thus preserve its unique business culture. They already have an appropriate alternative development plan that Cebu City officials could consider.
So, how about it, Cebu City? I know the project has started; but if it’s never too soon to start a good thing, it’s also never too late to get out of a bad thing and save Carbon.