December 8, 2023

Only an ordinance can fix the problems at Botanical Garden.

City Environment and Parks Management Officer Rhenan Diwas was told the concerns, especially those dealing with livelihood, at the Botanical Garden will be addressed only if there are legislated measures governing the economic activities inside the park.

During the council session last week, some councilors have reminded Diwas of the need for an ordinance that would set the guidelines on how the spaces are allotted for vendors as well as the rates are set, among other things.

Councilor Peter Fianza said in order for Cepmo to put into order things at Botanical Garden, which is hounded by concerns ranging from the operations of the toilets and how stalls are allotted, the basic requirements must first be satisfied.

He said pursuant to the Local Government Code, selling, leasing, or the disposal of public economic enterprises can only be done through an ordinance, which in the case of the economic activities at the Botanical Garden, does not exist.

“We have to go back to the basics. You may rely on the directives of the executive, but there should be an ordinance if we really want to fix Botanical Garden,” Fianza said.

He added it is through the ordinance where the parameters of the lease would be detailed, including recommendations on the uniformity of the areas of the stall, the amount of lease, the obligations as well as the criteria on who may be accommodated to occupy the stalls.

Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda also asked Cepmo to prepare a layout and allot equal spaces for each stall like the usual layout in the market and submit these, including the proposed rates, to the city council, which is lodged with the function of fixing the rates.

Tabanda made the suggestion upon learning one vendor occupies 198 square meters while the others are allotted a stall with a floor area of six square meters.

She added the rates collected should also be based on the area where the stalls are located, so that vendors occupying the parking lot should pay less than those occupying stalls inside the building within the park.

Diwas said the basis of the rates imposed on stalls, which is P150 per square meter, is the practice they have inherited from the previous administration.

He added his office is now finalizing the proposed ordinance governing Botanical Garden to be submitted to the city council soon. – Jane B. Cadalig