Agdao vendors push for ground floor display

Concerns rise over sales drop, market design issues
Agdao Public Market in Davao City
Agdao Public Market in Davao CityRojean Grace Patumbon/SunStar Photo

AFTER the resolution approving Agdao Public Market vendors to sell various goods and vegetables in one area, the group now seeks permission to permanently display their goods on the first floor, rather than temporarily. 

Ligaya D. Uba, president of the dry goods section, made this request during a media interview on Wednesday morning, May 22, 2024, at the Agdao Public Market. 

She emphasized their desire to remain on the ground floor alongside the dry goods section, as permitted by the City Economic Enterprise (CEE) and the local government unit, albeit only during specific hours, from 5 to 8 a.m. and from 3 to 8 p.m.

Uba explained, “So mao to nihangyo na pud ko og balik na og pwede ma-permanent na kauban ang dry goods sa baba (I reiterated my request for us to remain on the ground floor alongside the dry goods section),” indicating their plea to stay permanently on the ground floor. 

Moreover, she mentioned their willingness to finance the construction of a shade cover for the first floor if granted permission to display their variety of goods there.

Expressing concern over the unoccupied space on the ground floor, Uba highlighted the necessity for dry goods vendors to utilize that area. She stressed that if banks, parlors, and other establishments were to occupy that space, it would no longer resemble a public market but rather an office complex.

Maricel Garcia with her packed produce from the ground floor.
Maricel Garcia with her packed produce from the ground floor.Rojean Grace Patumbon/SunStar Photo

Sales decline

The move to the second floor of the market has significantly impacted sales for vendors like Maricel Garcia, treasurer of the dry goods association and former livestock vendor. She reported a decline in sales due to customers' reluctance to navigate the stairs. 

Before the relocation, their income was nonexistent, and they even resorted to consuming their products. 

However, since the resolution allowing vendors to sell downstairs was approved, they have experienced an income of P1,000 to P2,000 daily, a substantial improvement though still a fraction of their previous earnings.

Similarly, Reynaldo Alocelja, a 62-year-old dry goods vendor, lamented the decline in sales since the relocation, reminiscing about the prosperous days in the old market.

“Ang diri sa taas karun hinay gyud kaayo sa taas. Tung karaan nindot gyud ang halin, nindot gyud tung kaniadtu (Business is really slow up here. Sales were much better back then),” he said. 

Rosie Asan, a dry goods vendor since 2003, shared her experience of dwindling sales from P1,000 to P1,200 in the old market to less than P500 in the current setup, with additional expenses such as stall rent fees.

Unfit

Garcia criticized the market's layout and multiple floors, labeling it inconvenient for customers. She advocated for a return to the old market layout, emphasizing the need for thorough consultation with tenants regarding such changes.

When the integrated market officers, consisting of the section presidents, tried to inquire about the market's design, they were denied access. Instead, they were taken to Maramag, Bukidnon, to view a sample design of the Agdao Market. However, Garcia emphasized that the architects should consider sampling the market in Tagum City, as it aligns better with the needs of Davao City.

Alocelja then suggested that those in charge of the market's design might not have conducted a feasibility study on the layout. He pointed out that even the second-floor area of Bangkerohan Market closed down over the years.

"So sa atoa pa ang gobyerno gahimo project walay consultation sa mga tenants nga possible mag occupy (In our case, the government is initiating projects without consulting the potential occupants)," he said.

Stairs going up to the second floor of the Agdao Public Market in Davao. Concerns were also raised regarding the hassle of transporting goods from the second floor to the ground floor, with vendors resorting to various methods to ease the process.
Stairs going up to the second floor of the Agdao Public Market in Davao. Concerns were also raised regarding the hassle of transporting goods from the second floor to the ground floor, with vendors resorting to various methods to ease the process.Rojean Grace Patumbon/SunStar Photo

Hassle

Concerns were also raised regarding the hassle of transporting goods from the second floor to the ground floor, with vendors resorting to various methods to ease the process.

When permitted to sell on the first floor, vendors like Asan devised carts for efficient transport, saving them from making multiple trips up and down the stairs. 

Uba highlighted concerns about elderly vendors' health and the need for more display space. 

Additionally, around 11 vendors store products in vehicles, avoiding the hassle of transporting goods between floors.

Vendors of the Agdao Public Market had surrendered their stalls on the second floor to the government, and even vendors on the ground floor have relinquished their stalls, as indicated by the presence of yellow caution tapes signifying vacancy.
Vendors of the Agdao Public Market had surrendered their stalls on the second floor to the government, and even vendors on the ground floor have relinquished their stalls, as indicated by the presence of yellow caution tapes signifying vacancy.Rojean Grace Patumbon/SunStar Photo
Vendors of the Agdao Public Market had surrendered their stalls on the second floor to the government, and even vendors on the ground floor have relinquished their stalls, as indicated by the presence of yellow caution tapes signifying vacancy.
Vendors of the Agdao Public Market had surrendered their stalls on the second floor to the government, and even vendors on the ground floor have relinquished their stalls, as indicated by the presence of yellow caution tapes signifying vacancy.Rojean Grace Patumbon/SunStar Photo

Surrendered stalls

Meanwhile, Councilor Augusto Javier G. Campos III highlighted issues such as low income, high rental fees, and competition from peddlers outside the market. 

Some vendors of the Agdao Public Market mounted their stalls outside with the hope to attract more customers.
Some vendors of the Agdao Public Market mounted their stalls outside with the hope to attract more customers.Rojean Grace Patumbon/SunStar Photo

Out of 347 market awardees, only 214 vendors are currently active at the Agdao Public Market, with some stalls closed due to a lack of documentation.

In response to these challenges, Uba revealed that five vendors had surrendered their stalls on the second floor to the government, and even vendors on the ground floor have relinquished their stalls, as indicated by the presence of yellow caution tapes signifying vacancy. RGP

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