AN ELECTION ISSUE
A new modern city public market which will have amenities of a modern shopping mall will be built by the City Govenrment in the outskirts of the City within the next three years, while at the same time, retaining the tradition of t he old “tianggi” central market in downtown area .
But where can you find a market whose age old income of P2Million a year continues, while its new market comfort room is earning P4Million annually?. Only in Dumaguete. In short, its comfort room income is virtually subsidizing the meager stalls-income of the city market which is unthinkable to the modern-day entrepreneur and taxpayer.
If not because of the substantial income generated from the comfort rooms, the Dumaguete City public market would have been operating at a loss. Thus, many conclude that incomes from the comfort rooms subsidize the market operations.
In addition, the public market needs massive rehabilitation considering it is more than 30-years old along with the concern on improving sanitation, lack of parking and inadequate drainage system for wastewater.
Thus, the plan of Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo to build a new and modern public market with facilities similar to shopping malls to attract more customers. Only those who are willing to relocate in the new market will be given priority but those who would opt to stay in the old “tiangge” could do so.
In a recent meeting with hundreds of stall owners and vendors, Mayor Remollo denied the baseless opposition-based allegation that he wants to demolish the public market and endanger the livelihood of hundreds of tenants and vendors.
Truth is, some old market stall occupants control up to ten stalls and are sub-leasing it which is prohibited in their contract with the City. Stall holders are only charged P4 a day which is unthinkable these days.That is why hardly anyone wants to relocate to a better place because of the present low rental.
City Economic Enterprise Department Head Engr. Ronnie Fortin reveal that up to present the rental per stalls could go as low as P 4.35/ day to P 15.00/day since 1988. There are 937 stalls in the public market. Based on these rates, the CEED could only collect as much as P 20 million annually but the City Government has to allocate additional P 5 million just to pay for the salaries and wages of the employees, maintenance and other operating expenses to include payment of utilities.
In fact, the Commission on Audit noted in 2008 that the income of the market could barely cover the rising cost of operations for the last 16 years thus it was recommended for the management to revise the rental rates of stall spaces to make it a viable enterprise.
It was also learned that the public market has been razed to the ground twice in 1953 and 1982 due to faulty electrical wiring and overload. Thus, a massive rehabilitation and inspection of the market is long overdue to ensure its safety considering that it does not have the features of fire proof buildings and could even be considered a fire hazard.
But Mayor Remollo said that the best option on the table is to construct a new market that has all the amenities of a shopping mall in the upland barangays ideally in a location where the Dumaguete diversion road would traverse to attract buyers and patrons who would like to shop in bigger, cleaner and air-conditioned facility. The present vendors at the public market has the option to transfer to the new location.
In a meeting that lasted almost two hours, the vendors voiced their support to Mayor Remollo and his administration even as they vowed to ignore the disinformation campaign by his political enemies as contained in the so-called “white paper” whose authors continue to remain anonymous.