Apalit vendors seek Capitol’s help

MARKET vendors took their fight against the Apalit local government’s plan to construct a new public market to a higher level, as they filed a petition for intervention before the Pampanga Provincial Board (PB) on February 27.

Members of the Association of Apalit Market Vendors and Stall Owners wore anew their red shirts to show their unity in protesting the proposed construction of a new public market in the hope that they may win the hearts of PB members during the joint committee hearing of good governance and trade and industry.

Group president Elvie Balboa led her fellow market vendors in disputing the enactment of Municipal Ordinance 2016-022, which leads to the relocation of the public market to a 6,000-square-meter lot some 500 meters away from its current location.

In a statement, Balboa asserted that the passage of the ordinance is allegedly “railroaded” by the local government as it did not include a committee report and did not hear the concerns of oppositionists raised during the public hearing.

She added that the feasibility study of the proposed public market is “merely a product of table work, devoid of leg work that entails survey for random sampling and without five year business plan.”

Balboa also said the project is not included in the local government’s 2018 annual investment plan and municipal investment development plan, as well as in the executive-legislative for the year 2016 to 2019.

“King pung matulid a pangasabi, mipasa yang alang due process o e makatuki king tuntunan at patakaran king pangapasa ning ordinansa (In other words, the ordinance was passed without undergoing due process or did not pass through the proper course),” Balboa said.

She also argued anew the grounds cited by the local government on the pressing need to relocate and modernize the existing public market, including the lack of improvement made in the infrastructure since it was erected, the lack of vital health and sanitation facilities and its location that causes heavy vehicular traffic.

She said the local government can resolve the said concerns without the need to relocate the public market from the center of trade and commerce of Apalit, as well as nearby municipalities of Macabebe, Masantol and San Simon.

She contested the local government’s statement that the market causes massive traffic jams around the area, saying there is indeed large volume of vehicles using the MacArthur Highway in Apalit and that local officials lack proper implementation of traffic rules and regulation.

Balboa also pointed out that while the market vendors maintain the sanitation of their respective spaces, it is still the role of the local government to implement rules sustaining the cleanliness of the facility.

She also lamented the alleged “excessive and unreasonable” monthly rates ranging from P550 to P1,500 per square meter to be implemented in the proposed public market should its construction push through.

She said the construction will be funded through a public-private partnership and the chosen partner will claim rights to operate it for at least 50 years, giving them authority to impose anything with or without the consent of the concerned public.

“In the final analysis, we believe and so hold that Municipal Ordinance 22 is oppressive and discriminatory in the sense that the establishment of the new public market in the interior is unsafe from perennial flooding in its location at Bagong Pagasa Subdivision at the expense of the decent livelihood of market vendors and the convenience of the buying public which is deemed ridiculous premised from frivolous reasoning, besides the rental fees of market stalls are excessive and not within reach,” Balboa said.

In her final statement, Balboa personally sought the intervention of the PB members present during the joint committee hearing on the ordinance she described and alleged as “unfair, oppressive and discriminatory.”

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