AFTER the council’s inquiry into the Cebu Coalition of United Vendors Association’s (CCUVA) authority over the city’s night market, a leader of the city’s vendors’ association clarified that its nightly collections cover operating expenses and are not for personal gain.
Maria Pino, CCUVA president and chairman of the Garbo Asenso Sumbanan Alyansa (Gasa), a group of sidewalk vendors in Cebu City, also clarified that it is no longer the CCUVA, but Gasa, as a local special body responsible for overseeing local vendors’ situations, that is handling the night market, particularly the Colon Night Market.
Collections and expenses
In a phone interview on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023, Pino said they collect about P60,000 to P80,000 per night from the Colon Night Market operations through the P200 contribution they collect from participating vendors.
She said the collection depends on how many vendors participate per night, sometimes reaching up to 300 stalls.
“Mao na ang nasabutan nga contribution sa mga vendors para sa mga galastuhanan sa night market activity,” Pino told SunStar Cebu in a chat message on Monday, Dec. 4.
(This is the agreed-upon contribution from the vendors for the expenses of the night market activity).
She said about P30,000 to P40,000 of the total collection is allocated for the food of some 200 to 300 working personnel per night of the Colon Night Market operations.
The Colon Night Market, which spans the corner of P. del Rosario St. to the whole stretch of Colon St., started operating in October 2023 and will end in January 2024.
Pino said other expenses include the honorarium of their three electricians, who receive P3,000 per night. She said they are responsible for monitoring the lights installed in Colon.
Moreover, Pino said they also hire laborers whose honorariums cost them about P16,000 to P18,000 weekly. Another 68 individuals, under the night market’s monitoring team, also receive an honorarium of P300 per operation.
Pino clarified that their collections from the Colon Night Market do not go to anyone’s pocket.
She said that last year, the night market had a monthly electricity bill of P300,000. She could not provide a specific amount for this year as they have not received it yet, although, she mentioned a potential increase in this year’s electricity bill due to the installation of additional lighting in Colon St.
Pino said whatever remaining amount from the collection is used for their office supplies, including office electricity bill, and other activities. She also said some of the remaining income was given as cash gifts to all involved organizations.
She noted that during last year’s operation of the Colon Night Market, from November 2022 to January 2023, they were able to share with the City Government a total of P1.1 million.
She said the amount might increase this year.
Last Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023, the Cebu City Council, in its executive session, invited the City Legal Council to shed light on the authority of the CCUVA to operate and manage the night market.
According to Resolution 16 dated Oct. 16, 2023, the council said the Cebu City Market Authority should operate the night market since it is a project of the City Government. The council emphasized that this function can only be delegated to an association or a private organization if there is a law or agreement allowing it.
The council noted that for the Colon Night Market operations, CCUVA was collecting space rental, cash tickets or “arkabala” and fees to cover electricity expenses, among others, in the amount of P200 daily per stall. The amount collected as a cash ticket by the City Treasurer’s Office is only P20.
Cebu City Councilor Jocelyn Pesquera, chairperson of the tourism committee, earlier said when the night market started, CCUVA was just one of the organizations involved. She said it was the Cebu City Tourism Commission that initiated the night market on Colon Street in 2022.
Gasa as organizer
Pino, however, said the City has no ordinance that established the night market, saying it is their initiative to have one with the permission of Mayor Michael Rama.
She said to resolve the issue on the authority over the night market management, it is no longer the CCUVA, but Gasa that is handling the night market, and any requests from the vendors will now go through the Gasa, emphasizing that Gasa, as a special body resolved that its partner in the managing of the night market would be the CCUVA and other associations. (with WBS)