March 24, 2023

The municipality of La Trinidad, Benguet plans to scrap its memorandum of agreement with the Department of Agriculture for the lack of funding for its supposed two-story commercial building.

Mayor Romeo Salda said town officials are planning to file a request next week for the cancellation of the MOA, signed in 2016 during the term of former mayor Edna Tabanda, next week. 

Salda said the MOA, which paved the way for the construction of a two-story commercial building, stated the DA central office would provide for its P30 million funding.

However, the municipality received two tranches of funds totaling to only P14M for the construction of the building. Town officials followed up the request in March 2020 and were promised a P12-M voucher, but they never received the remainder of the funds. 

“The DA central office said it has no funds for the project,” Salda said.

With this, the local finance committee has decided to cancel the MOA so that the municipality would provide for the remaining funds for the building.

Town officials plan to realign a budget from a road concreting in the municipality to finish construction of the commercial building.

He said part of the agreement with DA is that the stakeholders from the La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Post would have to eventually transfer to the Benguet Agri Pinoy Trading Center back in 2016. But it didn’t push through as most vegetable traders remained in LTVTP and that the MOA was never ratified. 

Tabanda originally intended the commercial building to be a cut-flower toll-packing center and multipurpose center which will feature the champion products of the town. The building would be part of the income generating establishments of the municipality.

The area where the building was constructed originally was a one-story structure that housed 17 vegetable traders near the LTVTP. Salda said once it is finished, the commercial building would cater to the earlier displaced 17 vegetable traders on the first floor, and the second floor would be souvenir and coffee shops. – Ofelia C. Empian