CDRRMO studies bid to declare market under state of calamity
The city council approved Resolution 173, s. 2023, supporting the investigation on the cause of the fire that occurred at the Baguio City Public Market on the late evening of March 11 and lasted until early morning the next day.
The fire destroyed Blocks 3 and 4 and displaced around 2,000 stall holders who suffered loss of properties, goods, and stocks amounting to around P24 million.
The council hopes the investigation will provide helpful information so it could come up with appropriate legislative measures and actions for the prevention of future fire incidents not only in the city market but in all public places and buildings.
To address the operational budget for the post-fire incident recovery, the city council upon recommendation of the committee on appropriations and finance approved Ordinance 30, s. 2023, allocating P8M from the quick response fund (QRF) or City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Fund.
In his letter dated March 14, Mayor Benjamin Magalong said the amount will be used for the cleaning of burned areas with the goal of immediate resumption of vending activities.
The city council also approved the closure of portions of Malcolm Square, Perfecto Street, Hilltop Street, Kayang Street, Zandueta Street, and Burnham Park as temporary relocation sites for the displaced vendors.
The city council requested the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office to study if it is possible to declare a state of calamity over portions of the city market razed by the fire as a basis of the city to use its QRF for the clearing, repair and other essential operations to be done at the burned area.
The barangay councils of Upper Market Subdivision, Padre Zamora, and Azcko (Abanao-Zandueta-Kayang-Chugum-Otek), which has jurisdiction over areas affected by the fire were also requested to study the declaration of a state of calamity in their barangays to be able to use their barangay QRF.
In Resolution 182, s. 2023, loans and financing institutions were strongly urged to defer collection of loans without implementing interest for those affected by the fire.
The resolution stated that most of the affected vendors have taken out loans to finance their businesses and are currently facing the challenge of repaying their loans amidst the losses and damages caused by the fire and the Covid-19 pandemic that also affected their financial situation making it more difficult for them to meet their financial obligations.
The deferment of loan collection will give them time to recover, and an expression of support, compassion and solidarity with the affected vendors, added the resolution.
Through Resolution 185, s. 2023, the city council allowed the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Baguio to use Melvin Jones football field from April 2 to 16 for the International Food Expo.
The approval is without prejudice to the possible use of the football field as a relocation site for displaced vendors.
Conditions set on the use of the area is for the HRAB to: Pay for the use of area for the duration of the activity; provide garbage receptacles to ensure proper solid waste and wastewater management throughout the activity; provide security personnel to ensure security within the area; rehabilitate the grass cover of the football field immediately after the activity; and comply with the requirements needed in securing special permits.