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Rough Cuts | Market stall holders are complaining

Trouble is brewing in some of the city’s public markets. We have it from among the many stall holders that we have talked to last Sunday when we had the opportunity to join the wife in her weekly marketing chores.

According to the stall holders we have talked to in the Calinan Public Market they are aghast at the decision of the city government to reclassify some of the markets including that of Calinan from a Category C to Category A. That is, markets like that of Calinan, Mintal and Toril which at present are at Category Care reclassified to Category A without first getting the Category B level.

This, according to the stall holders, allows the city government to double the current monthly rental charges effective October this year. The stall holders claimed that the move caught them by surprise as they said there was no formal consultation from the stakeholders.

We were told that the reason the market reclassification was the offshoot of the increase in its monthly income.

If we are to believe that claim by the stall holders, then we can assume that more and more people are opening up businesses in the markets concerned. We could also conclude that the stall renters are paying regularly the monthly rent, which could be taken as their religious compliance of their monthly obligations.

This plan to increase the monthly rental rates is somewhat intriguing. Why is the increase to be imposed when based on the increase in the markets’ monthly take the stall holders are comfortably paying their dues?

To us this could even be a cause for considering the granting of incentives to all those religious rent payers. Or, if the increase in income is attributable to the good and honest performance of market employees like collectors, then these government workers even deserve to get some kind of “performance bonus.”

Again, the hike in the monthly income of public markets in the city can only be credited to the good performance of the market employees, the executives running the market operation, and of course the stakeholders – those doing businesses in the markets that regularly pay the monthly stall rents and other dues expected of them.

Now, if what the high income levels of the concerned markets are not enough to meet the revenue quota set by certain over-eager and “sip-sip” aspirants for promotions at the City’s Enterprise Unit why pass on the burden of enhancing the market income to the stall holders?

Why not check on the glaring money making ventures of certain market masters such as granting moneyed entrepreneurs spaces in the market area for construction of their own stalls? In Calinan for example during the time of a previous market executive stall spaces outside the main market buildings can be had for a cost ranging from P200,000 to P400,000, depending on the accessibility of the location.

But of course payment reflected in the Official Receipt is much, much smaller than the actual amount given to the market executive/s through his/her/their “negotiator.”

And the “negotiations” are undertaken by some “job order” employees. But as far as the current Calinan market head is concerned, we are told that the operation is conducted at its level best. And the increase in the monthly income of the market is proof of the honest-to-goodness management.

The shenanigans in the Calinan market during the previous management were also common place in other markets, we were told by some stakeholders who shelled out huge sums just to get a good location for them to construct their own stalls.

Going back to the stall holders’ complaint of the excessive monthly rental hike, a dialogue was set last Monday among the stall holders and the market management. The major issue to be tackled is of course the exorbitant increase in the monthly stall rent.

However, they confided to us that they will also raise the issue about the use of the so-called “bagsakan” area in the market compound as mini stalls for ambulant fish, vegetables and even egg vendors during Sundays.

These vendors, the regular stall holders told us, virtually isolate those whose stalls are inside the market buildings. This situation in the market during Sundays, according to the stall renters, reduces substantially the sales of those inside. Sundays, the vendors told us, are supposed to be revenue=laden days for them. But it is not the case anymore after the ambulant market vendors are allowed to display their merchandise outside the main market building. The Sunday ambulant vendors pay measly sum of money through cash tickets.

Meanwhile, the stall owners pay a fixed amount of rental monthly, regardless of whether they get good sales in any particular day of the week or month.

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