April 17, 2024

Vendors affected by the March 11 fire that gutted Blocks 3 and 4 of the Baguio City public market raised various concerns on the state of their vending area.
The vendors, who sought an audience with the city council on March 26, raised concerns about the safety of the restored Block 4 structure.
They also want the size of their stalls to be maintained and for proper zoning of goods to be observed.
The Kayang-Hilltop Women Vendors’ Association represented by Sofia Villanueva said they are wary about the safety of the building where they returned days after selling in a temporary site.
Villanueva said their sales are adversely affected, citing claims that marketgoers have become wary of the safety of Block 4.
“We want to be assured that the building is safe because even the marketgoers are afraid to go inside due to concerns on their safety,” Villanueva said.
Councilor Mylen Yaranon, who earlier asked engineers to check the structural integrity of Blocks 3 and 4, said the Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers is still wrapping up its report.
Vice Mayor Faustino Olowan said the city would not have allowed the vendors to go back to their stalls if the area was not safe.
This was in response to Villanueva’s claim the vendors were forced to return to their stalls because the market superintendent said they will be cited for violations if they refuse. The violation they were supposed to be cited for was not clear to the vendors.
Aside from concerns on structural integrity, the vendors are asking that the original size of their stalls, which is one meter by 1.5 meters, be maintained.
Villanueva said their stalls have been reduced to one meter by 0.60 meters, which reduced the amount of goods they can display.
She said they did not have any idea on how their stalls would look like because they were not involved in the construction.
“We only saw the area after it was constructed. The current size of our stalls is not reasonable,” she said.
She added they also prefer the original zoning inside Block 4 where stalls selling fruits, highland vegetables, and lowland crops would be grouped in one area and not mixed up.
“Magulo po ang mga paninda dahil hindi na-observe ang zoning ng mga prutas at gulay,” Villanueva said.
While acknowledging the vendors’ concerns, which he said should have been raised with the market superintendent instead of the council, Olowan asked the vendors to also help in the city government’s efforts to weed out individuals who have multiple stalls in the market.
Olowan said the city councilors have been receiving complaints about recurrence of unfair practices inside the market.
The city government has been working to end the unfair practices at the public market, such as subleasing, selling of stalls, and people having multiple stalls. – Jane B. Cadalig