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Rough Cuts | Mintal public market a squatter?

Over the past 15 years the administrations of then Davao City Mayor, now President Rodrigo Duterte, and his successor daughter Mayor Inday Sara Duterte-Carpio, the local government has been implementing market renovation projects. One of the city’s biggest, the Agdao Public Market,
has been closed partially for some time to give way to its expansion and reconstruction works that were undertaken starting over a year ago.
Last week when we attended the session of the Sangguniang Panlungsod a resolution was approved by the local legislative body authorizing the reassignment of personnel of the Lasang, Bunawan and Tibungco public markets to other markets in the city.

The reason of the personnel movement was not clearly disclosed. Instead, we noted that during the presentation of the resolution in the plenary, seemingly, no one among the councilors present paid much attention. Yes, only the “Whereases” with more salient contents were read. The proponent directly proceeded to the dispositive portion of the resolution, later moving for the adoption thereof. The motion was quickly seconded by several councilors who raised their hands without even making a short gaze at the presiding officer’s podium. The younger councilor Edgar Ibuyan Jr. who was ably presiding over the session, asked for any objection or reaction from the floor. There was none.

We may be wrong. But we are assuming that the reason of the reassignment of some, of the market personnel to other public markets in the city could possibly be the temporary closure of the city facilities. Yes, new market buildings to house the many enterprises could soon be rising on the location of the present markets.

In other words, we are further assuming that the local government may not have owned other land in Lasang, Bunawan and Tibungco where new market buildings could be constructed; or its present occupants be temporarily moved. May be, the present sites do not have enough space for the stall holders or vendors to temporarily occupy.

But whatever, we know that the city government would not do such move for reasons other than improving the level of market services to the buying public.

Anent the same issue on the city’s markets we however, discovered only very recently, the possible reason that people have not seen any improvement in the present apparently unfinished building of the Mintal public market. Last week we accidentally met with an official of barangay Mintal. We inquired from him the status of a proposal earlier disclosed by no less than mayor Inday Sara Duterte that a new “Little Tokyo” of sort will rise in the very place that was once dubbed with such moniker in the center of the former Mintal township.

According to the official the plan is temporarily shelved pending resolutions of some issues and the cropping up of projects that are deemed to be requiring more priority attention of the city.

It was then that we pursued asking about the issue of property ownership that the official concerned said. He quite hesitantly informed us that one such property is the present site the Mintal public market occupies. The land is not even owned by the city government, he said. The Mintal barangay official told us that the land which used to be the very place where the Japanese hospital of Otha Development Corporation stood is actually owned by the national government under the proprietary right of the Department of Health (DOH).

The official said that being part of a large abaca plantation owned by the Japanese, it became enemy property that was taken over by the government when the Second World War started. And being a hospital institution the Otha Development health facility was appropriately placed under the proprietary rights of the Department of Health after the war ended.

We therefore believe that for as long as the city government cannot find a land of its own to relocate the Mintal Public Market, it will continue to be in that crowded and congested location without any hope of permanent improvement in its facilities within the near future.

And if at all the use of the city is covered with a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the DOH, then perhaps it is about time that this document be reviewed and its provisions be amended to make it responsive to the needs of the Mintal community.

After all, we know that our local officials are well aware that Mintal and the central part of the entire Tugbok district is evolving into a vibrant residential, commercial and even educational community. It is the city officials’ responsibility that the needs of Mintal and Tugbok residents are not taken advantage of by the growing commercialism of private enterprises catering to the needs particular of the continuously increasing number of households in the area.

Now, what about that piece of information Ladies and Gentlemen of the City Council? Don’t you think it deserves even a miniscule of your attention as public servants?

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