BAGUIO CITY – Authorized night market vendors will still be allowed by the city government to ply their trade at Harrison Road despite an earlier directive from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for them to vacate the area since it is “beyond the commerce of man” being a public thoroughfare.
“Status quo muna tayo sa night market,” city administrator Bonifacio dela Pena declared to the relief of the jampacked crowd in Tuesday’s general assembly and public consultation on the night market at the PFVR gymnasium here.
He disclosed that Mayor Benjamin Magalong will personally meet with DPWH Sec. Mark Villar in the coming days and ask that the vendors be allowed to continue using a 500-meter stretch of Harrison Road for the night market while their planned transfer to the Jose Abad Santos Drive or more popularly known as Lake Drive at Burnham Park is being finalized.
Proudly admitting that he is “laking-palengke”, dela Pena said he fully understands their situation and assured the vendors that the city government is trying its best to look for solutions on the planned relocation of the night market that has become a popular destination for residents and tourists.
The city administrator added that the improvement of the night market is part of the 15 point core agenda agreed upon during the Executive Legislative Agenda (ELA) activity held here recently.
The half-day consultation was conducted by the city council’s market committee chaired by councilor Philian Weygan Allan whose members are aldermen Elaine Sembrano and Joel Alangsab. Also present during the activity are councilor Pacoy Ortega, city health officer Rowena Galpo, city treasurer Alex Cabarrubias, tourism officer Alec Mapalo, market supervisor Ragma, and representatives from the public order and safety division, city buildings and architecture office (CBAO), environment and parks management office and other concerned offices.
Allan reminded the vendors that the night market is not only a tourism but also an economic enterprise that must be protected and improved for the benefit of residents and visitors. She pleaded with the vendors that they should follow all the rules and regulations especially those covering health, sanitation and environmental protection.
Her appeal was echoed by other officials present as they also reminded the vendors not to clog the sewerage and protect the plants in the area in keeping with Baguio’s reputation as a tourism hub and city of flowers.
Allan explained that the consultation aims to get the suggestions and views of the vendors that will go into the crafting of a city ordinance that would best serve operations of the night market.
Earlier, the DPWH sent notice to the city government, through the CBAO, for the the night market’s relocation as this occupies a national road that should not be unnecessarily closed to vehicular traffic.
Magalong, however, stressed the need to continue the night market operations as it is the source of livelihood of around 1,044 vendors aside from being one of the city’s latest tourist attractions.
He also pointed out the fact that the night market, with the least infrastructure development, generates around P14 to P16 million annually that goes to the city’s coffers.
The Mayor has also ordered night market vendors to strictly comply with the prevailing rules and regulations on the night market so that they would be allowed to continue with their operations in the area./Gaby Keith