February 9, 2023

The city government is losing about P200,000 daily due to illegal schemes within the Baguio City public market.
And this is just a conservative estimate, according to Mayor Benjamin Magalong, who assured they are going to correct such irregularities in the management of the city market “that have been tolerated for many years.”
The mayor said the city is now conducting an audit and inventory of the stalls and spaces leased out in the market as part of its plan to develop, improve, or modernize the area as identified in the city’s 15-point agenda of governance.
He said they initially found out that some lessees who are paying P4,500 to the city as rental are renting out their stall for P100,000; and some who pay P300 are leasing out the same for P5,000 to P10,000.
While there is no such policy on transfer of rights, Magalong said other stall occupants are able to sell “rights” to others for as much as half a million pesos.
“So in relation to the market development plans, kaya naman umaangal ang iba ay dahil ang daming kalokohan dyan, lalo na sa sub-leasing. We are losing about P200,000 a day, and it is a very conservative estimate after knowing what’s really happening. So we are now going to correct it, making sure we will be able to address all of this,” Magalong said Wednesday.
He assured the city market will have its own system, it will generate revenue, and there is adequate space so it will be a comfortable marketplace.
Magalong also said there is no such thing as “lease for life.” “Ang nangyari lang is na-tolerate. Kaya maraming threatened diyan. Sa initial result na pinapakita sa akin, amazing. ‘Di ko akalain na napakarami pala talagang kalokohan pagdating sa leasing ng stalls. Mayroon pang rights, wala namang rights d’yan pero biglang nagkaroon, ibebenta nila,” he said.
Magalong has asked all rightful stall occupants to file complaints and he assured them of protection from the city.
The ongoing city market audit and inventory will generate the city the needed data that it will use in fixing the system of its operation.
The ongoing purge of the illegal vendors and the adoption of the new management system is in line with the market redevelopment project currently being worked out under the public-private partnership scheme.
He assured that market vendors will be prioritized while it pursues a public-private partnership for its redevelopment.
Regardless of who will win the bid, the city will continue to own and manage the market place, the mayor said, thus the purge is inevitable.
In face of the complexities of the anomalies involving the stalls, there were suggestions at the city council to cancel all the leasehold rights and start from scratch which the mayor said could be one of the options for the city.
“But it will all depend on the final results of the inventory although we should also be fair to the legitimate vendors who are law-abiding,” he said.
 Under the city’s market ordinance, the city can cancel the award of the stallholder found to have sub-leased his or her awarded stall, or those delinquent stallholders.
The vacated stalls are required to be subjected to public bidding wherein the person with the highest bid price based on the ceiling pegged by the city will be the one to be awarded the said stall.
For stalls that were vacated by delinquent stallholders, the minimum bid of interested individuals will be the accumulated unpaid rentals, including surcharges and interests. – Hanna C. Lacsamana with reports from Aileen P. Refuerzo