July 25, 2024
MARKET INFERNO — Baguio residents witnessed how a huge fire gutted Blocks 3 and 4 of the city public market on the night of March 11 until the situation was declared under control in the morning of March 12. The incident has once again ignited the spirit of compassion and volunteerism as people from all walks of life came forward to help the affected vendors and their families get back on their feet. — Van Dicang (main photo)/Harley Palangchao and Neil Ongchangco (inset photos)

The city council has approved an P8 million budget for rehabilitation recovery efforts to the vendors affected by the fire that burned down Blocks 3 and 4 of the Baguio City public market on March 11.
In a special session on March 16, the council allocated the amount as certified available by the Local Finance Committee, in response to the request of Mayor Benjamin Magalong for the city to provide funds to address the problems caused by the fire.
This includes the immediate temporary relocation of a total of 1,640 vendors who lost their stalls, as well as for relief assistance, including komboys who were also displaced.
The budget will also be used for supplies needed for the restoration of the roof at the livestock area at Block 4 and supplies and equipment for the put-up of temporary stalls by the City Buildings and Architecture Office and volunteers.
The city council also granted the request for the use of Kayang St. and Hilltop Road, as well as the Igorot Garden and Malcolm Square for the affected vendors to sell their wares.
The councilors, however, stressed to see to it the vendors or their products are zoned properly and only those who are affected are the ones to be given relocation spaces.
It was also assured only portion of the roads identified for relocation are being used and will not be totally closed.
City Legal Officer Althea Alberto said that most of the vendors were first relocated to the Rillera Building.
She said those who will be temporarily relocated will be allowed in the relocation sites for at least two weeks up to a maximum of one month, if necessary, until their original spaces at Blocks 3 and 4 are safe and ready for re-occupancy.
As of March 17, Magalong said another massive cleanup of the burned areas was set that day particularly flushing at Block 3 and construction of stalls in the afternoon, with personnel of the Baguio City Police Office, Public Order and Safety Division, and General Services Office and volunteers.
Thirty carpentry students from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority was set to augment the workforce for the temporary stall construction
Drawing of lots for 32 stall spaces at Igorot Garden and 84 spaces at Malcolm Square was also held on the same day.
The city market superintendent and officials of other concerned city departments have been invited to attend the March 20 session of the city council to provide an update on the post-market fire situation. – Hanna Lacsamana with reports from Aileen P. Refuerzo