March 23, 2023

The plan to modernize the Baguio City public market has divided Baguio residents after the mayor gave the green light to one of the biggest developers in the country to transform the facility into a world-class business center.
The modernization of the public market will be among the major changes in the city’s infrastructure projects as part of the mayor’s innovative vision to improve the city’s image and ensure its economic sustainability.
Some private individuals are also presenting the rationale behind the polarized community over a privatized public market besides losing its historical landmarks.
The transfer of the staging areas for public utility vehicles that resulted in a central business district decongested of vehicular traffic also polarized the riding public and other sectors.
The mayor needs sound and balanced decision-making skills to look into the rationale of those who resist change and want to maintain status quo and also those who embrace globalization and want change for our city to advance and be at par with other modernized cities in the world. British educators and authors Herbert Altrichter and John Elliott describe change as a family of progress, evolution, development, innovation, modernity, and a significant defining factor of the roadmap to economic sustainability. They also said resistance to change is a form of social polarization that may result in other unproductive reactions against change.
British authors and economists Patrick Dawson and Constantine Andriopoulos also describe resistance to change as a natural human response to any imminent change and a group’s expression of distrust when change is introduced without sufficient consideration of its social implications.
The authors added there are three forms of resistance to change: political resistance in which a group is against change because it may undermine status and power that may have implications to access to resources; ideological resistance, in which a group is against change because it may destroy values and beliefs; and blind resistance, in which a group is just reacting against change.
American educator and author Paul Gibbons said that there are eight models of resistance to change: rational, in which people resist change because of wrong information and insufficient facts about the imminent change; habitual behavior, in which some groups of people are just habitually opposing change even without valid reasons; emotional, in which people resist change because it may cause fear and anger; identity, in which people resist change because they see it as a threat to the current status of some groups; ideological, in which people see change as against value system, philosophy, and morality; social, in which people perceive change as harmful to social relationship; cultural, in which the change may damage social norms and may also cause undesirable behaviour; and political, in which the change may cause loss of perceived power, influence, and control.
Resistance, as shown by some concerned groups in the city, may be viewed as blind resistance, habitual behavior, rational, political, or any of the forms and models of resistance. This is a proof that the stakeholders have critical thinking skills and are empowered to show their consciousness to their constitutional rights and freedom to express opinions and feelings.
But our city needs actions characterized by developmental and transformational objectives to achieve significant improvement and well-being of its environment and the residents.
Resistance to change is a social phenomenon that should be managed by a leader guided by a solid vision and commitment to the vision that encourages innovation and opening the mind of stakeholders on the mysteries behind the change taking into consideration the opportunities and possibilities change may bring. — Ben A. Bentican