June 17, 2024

The city government will pursue redevelopment of the Gibraltar Satellite Market despite the request by the Gibraltar Market Vendors Association for its suspension.

During the city council’s regular session on Dec. 6, members of the association said they filed their application for a land title to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources just last week, hence their request for deferment of the construction of a new satellite market building.

Fabiana Balangay, representative of the association, said the association, and not the city government, must be the one in charge of the satellite market’s redevelopment.

She added they have the right to claim the property as they had been occupying it since the 1980’s and that they shouldered all the expenses for the improvement of the land.

Elias Aoanan of the City Planning and Development Office siad the land where the Gibraltar Satellite Market is situated was identified on Feb. 3, 1995 by the City Land Use Identification Committee for city needs.

Vice Mayor Faustino Olowan said under the city’s charter, lands identified for city needs cannot be claimed by any individual or entity.

City Administrator Bonifacio dela Peña said the construction cannot be delayed as the project was bid out and was set for awarding on Dec. 7.

Dela Peña cited Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act, which spell out the guidelines for the bidding and implementation of government infrastructure projects.

“There are timeframes that we need to follow in accordance with RA 9184. We cannot delay a project just because somebody requested for its deferment, unless there is an order from the Supreme Court,” dela Peña said.

The city council repeatedly assured the association that the existing stall owners will not be disenfranchised.

Despite the assurance that they are given the highest priority in the selection of individuals to be given slots in the new facility, Balangay strongly expressed opposition against the project.

Nemesio Huag and Abraham Lagasca, punong barangays of Gibraltar and Pacdal respectively, denied the claim of the association that the stall owners were not consulted regarding the project.

Huag said some of the stall owners attended the public consultation.

Lagasca said all punong barangays of districts 1 and 11 signed a manifesto expressing full support to the proposed construction of the Gibraltar Satellite Market.

In 2020, the current administration announced its plan to pursue the modernization of the Gibraltar Satellite Market.

It was initially estimated at a cost of P110 million but was downscaled to P75 million due to lack of funds. The three-floor structure will house around 150 rentable stalls.

Despite the reduced number of stalls due to the downscaling, CPDO Chief Donna Tabangin earlier said all stall owners in the existing satellite market will still be accommodated in the redeveloped satellite market. – Jordan G. Habbiling