February 9, 2023

La Trinidad, Benguet is strengthening its income generating projects particularly at the old trading post as a means to cope with its losses during the pandemic.
Councilor John Botiwey, chair of the committee of market, said the municipality will introduce changes at the trading post, which is one of its highest income generating facilities with an income of P30 to P40 million annually.
Botiwey said half of the Km. 5 parking area will be opened to the farmers for them to dispose of their vegetable products.
The adjustment has to be done since the construction of the municipal building, which is adjacent to the trading post, is about to start prompting some lessees to temporarily vacate the area.
The trading post will open to accommodate traders, who are observed to be trading along Pico Road early in the morning instead of waiting for the vegetable trading post to open.
“If they are able to go in at the trading post earlier then that’s an additional collection but we made it a point that they should also fall in line so it will not be unfair for others,” Botiwey said.
Data from the municipal treasury shows that the town has a total budget of P418, 419,235 for 2020 but as of July 31, the total collection amounts to P319,329,928, or a deficit of P99.089 million from the town’s collection.
The deficit was also due to the closure of 625 establishments during the pandemic. 
Mayor Romeo Salda said those that closed are restobars and massage parlors that were not allowed to operate under the community quarantine guidelines. Other affected establishments are the souvenir shops along Strawberry Farm and tourism sites in the municipality.
Botiwey said they have asked the licensing office to look for means on how to help these businesses that closed during the pandemic.
He said they have coordinated with the Department of Labor and Employment and the Department of Trade and Industry for any assistance for the local businessmen.
“When the licensing office coordinated with the DOLE and DTI, they said there is assistance for closed businesses during the pandemic but the funds are depleted. Hopefully there would be upcoming funding from the national to be downloaded to the local governments,” he said. – Ofelia C. Empian