December 8, 2022

A petition filed by Baguio citizens providing guidelines for the rehabilitation of the city market was passed on first reading during the city council’s session on Feb. 22.
The petition challenging the city government’s mode of rehabilitating the public market has amassed 1,448 signatures of vendors, consumers, stakeholders, and other concerned citizens.
The signatories sought to prevent the public-private partnership modality for the rehabilitation of the public market, which the city government is undertaking with SM Prime Holdings being the holder of the Original Proponent Status for the project.
Atty. Zosimo Abratique, main proponent of the petition, invoked Republic Act 6735 or the Initiative and Referendum Act of 1989, which allows stakeholders to file a petition with the legislative body for the proposal, repeal, or amendment of an ordinance or resolution.
Under the law, at least 1,000 registered voters of a city must participate in the people’s initiative to propose and enact a local legislation.
Following its approval on the first reading, the petition was referred to a committee for study and recommendation.
The committee, after evaluating the proposal, shall report to the council its findings and recommendation.
Should it receive favorable recommendation by the committee, the proposal will go through legislative procedure.
Should the city council reject the proposal or fail to act on it within 30 days from its presentation, the proponents will elevate the people’s initiative to the Commission on Election, which will conduct a referendum.
In the referendum, at least 10 percent of voters of the city and three percent of each barangay must approve the proposed people’s ordinance. Once carried by the public in their sovereign capacity, the ordinance shall be in force and effect.
The petition proposes the construction of the following market zones, subject to certain height limitations and in accordance with the provisions of the National Building Code: administrative building (not more than three floors), office building and multipurpose activity centers (not more than three floors), dry goods (not more than four floors), market plaza (open space), produce zone I (not more than five floors), produce zone II (not more than five floors), heritage zone (not more than three floors), wet market (not more than two floors), parking building (not more than five floors), sewerage treatment plant and materials recovery facility (not more than two floors), and bagsakan and commercial building (not more than two floors).
During the construction of the modernized public market, affected vendors shall be relocated preferably within the city’s market area to keep the disruption of business to a minimum.
Under the proposal, the funding and management of the modernized public market shall be the primary responsibility of the city government of Baguio. – Jordan G. Habbiling