April 20, 2024

■  Hanna C. Lacsamana   

Despite the move of the city council to temporarily ban trade fairs at Malcolm Square while it is on the process of deliberating on a proposed ordinance that seeks to set out the guidelines on the park’s use, a government-sponsored activity with selling has been allowed in the area.

The activity, called Kadiwa ng Pangulo para sa Manggagawa of the Department of Labor and Employment as part of its 90th founding anniversary, is being held at Malcolm Square from Dec. 7 to 10 in partnership with the city government, and the departments of Agriculture and Trade and Industry.

The Kadiwa enables the country’s farmers and merchants to sell goods directly to consumers without the trader-intermediaries, allowing them to reap higher profits while still offering quality products at an affordable price.

In its Nov. 28 session, the city council passed a resolution, authored by all members, to temporarily ban trade fairs and selling activities in consultation with City Environment and Parks Management Officer Rhenan Diwas, who agreed there is a need for strict implementing guidelines that shall govern the operation and maintenance on the use of Malcolm Square.

Councilor Isabelo Cosalan, Jr. who chairs the committee on market, trade, commerce, and agriculture, on Dec. 8 cannot be reached for comments, while Councilor Arthur Allad-iw in a phone interview said he believes the Dec. 7 to 10 activity has been approved prior to their Nov. 28 meeting.

Diwas, for his part, said the activity has been approved through a resolution by the city council.

He said the resolution was the basis of the Cepmo in processing the issuance of its special permit.

However, he reiterated the city council should be consistent with its actions whether to ban totally or limit the activities, including trade fairs at Malcolm Square.

Kailangan paninidigan nila. Kung bawal, bawal. But if they issue a permit in the form of a council resolution, like I told them during the Nov. 28 special session, I (the office) would yield to that since it is the city council’s action, and since the councilors are the representatives of the people, I would consider it as the people’s clamor,” Diwas said, who stressed it is not his office that is solely responsible on allowing these activities to take place at the park.

He added there is a need to realize the direction of the city when it comes to the conduct of trade fairs.

Diwas said whatever the city comes up with on Malcolm Square, he hopes it is one that observes balance on the need to preserve city parks for recreation and the need to give the public an opportunity to have a venue for their advocacies, which may also include commerce.

“In every concern, there are ways to address it. Hindi ‘yung bawal agad. For us in Cepmo, we advocate more on regulation through strict rules and guidelines, because we understand there have been abuses (in the use of Malcolm) in the past. There are ways to fix this to avoid those abuses from happening again if there is check and balance,” he said.

Another trade fair is scheduled supposedly at Malcolm Square but its selling portion may be transferred to the Igorot Garden.