The provincial board of Benguet approved the ordinance of La Trinidad mandating accreditation of all stakeholders doing business at the various trading areas within the municipality.
In the ordinance, the municipality aims to establish a database of all farmers, traders, buyers, purchasers, truckers, packers, and porters operating at the public and private vegetable trading areas in the town.
Authored by Councilor Bartolome Baldas, Jr., the ordinance stated the database includes the identity, residence, business address and contact numbers of vegetable stakeholders who transact business in the trading areas.
The accreditation would help prevent unscrupulous buyers, purchasers and traders of vegetables from victimizing farmers and stall owners at the trading posts.
The La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Post (LTVTP) and the Benguet Agri-Pinoy Trading Center (BAPTC), the biggest trading centers in the Cordillera, including other private trading areas are located within the town.
There were reported instances of farmers who sell their produce to traders on credit but they were not paid; traders selling to other traders or purchasers or buyers who were not paid; and purchasers having bought vegetables from traders or farmers which are not in accordance with standard.
“Reports coming from various sectors of the aforementioned trading areas show that many victims lost income in the hundreds of thousands of pesos and even millions of pesos,” the ordinance stated.
“The good name of La Trinidad as the center of vegetable trading and its local economic enterprise, the LTVTP, the BAPTC and the different trading areas have been put in a bad light with the practice of traders in not paying the farmers,” it added.
To be accredited, individuals must submit all requirements to their duly accredited association including valid government issued ID card, NBI clearance or police clearance from the police station where they are residing or doing business, business permit issued by the municipality if applicable, and duly accomplished form.
Purchasers need a special power of attorney or board resolution of their principal employer authorizing the purchase of vegetables; and if there are unpaid obligations by the purchaser as noted by the market supervisor, they are mandated to settle it.
The association may then issue a clearance if the requirements are complete to be given to the market supervisor for evaluation and endorsement. If endorsed, the stakeholder may proceed to pay the accreditation at the Treasurer’s Office. The identification card would then be issued by the mayor.
The accreditation would be individual but they should be under an accredited association. All vegetable stakeholders are required to be grouped into associations depending on their classification: association of traders; buyers and purchasers; truck operators; porters; packers; and truck drivers. The different associations are also urged to form a federation.
The Mayor’s Office has been given the discretion to approve or disapprove an application for accreditation. Only accredited porters, packers, and drivers are allowed to work at the trading sites.
Accreditation fees for league of associations is P5,000; stakeholder associations except for the association of packers, porters and truck drivers shall pay a fee of P2,000; association of packers, porters, and truck drivers shall pay P1,000; while individuals from La Trinidad are exempt from paying accreditation fees, as they are mandated to obtain business permits from the LGU, but shall pay P300 annually for processing fees and production of the ID.
Farmers-traders are also exempt.
Purchasers, buyers, and truck operators without business permits shall pay an annual accreditation fee of P1,000 plus P300 processing fee. If they have business permits, they will be exempted and pay P300.
Drivers, porters, and packers are not required to pay accreditation fees, only the P300 annually as processing fee.
Only accredited traders will be allowed to sell vegetables to buyers, except for farmers who may have direct buyers at the trading areas.
Accredited purchasers will be allowed to buy vegetables in bulk or more than 100 kilograms of vegetable; a buyer who purchases for personal consumption up to 100 kilos are exempt from accreditation.
Violators of the ordinance shall be meted with fines from P1,000 to P2,500 or imprisonment or both at the discretion of the court. – Ofelia C. Empian