People’s initiative on market rehab okayed on First reading

A petition filed by Baguio citizens providing guidelines for the rehabilitation of the city market passed the first reading during the city council’s regular session on February 22, 2021.

The petition challenging the city government’s mode of rehabilitating the City Public Market has amassed 1,448 signatures of vendors, consumers, stakeholders, and other concerned citizens.

The signatories sought to prevent the public-private partnership (PPP) modality for the rehabilitation of the public market which the city government is presently undertaking with SM Prime Holdings being the holder of the Original Proponent Status (OPS) for the said project.

Atty. Zosimo Abratique, main proponent of the petition, invoked Republic Act No. 6735 otherwise known as the Initiative and Referendum Act of 1989 which allows stakeholders to file a petition with the legislative body for the proposal, repeal, or amendment of an ordinance or resolution.

Under the said law, at least 1,000 registered voters of a city must participate in the people’s initiative to propose and enact a local legislation.

Following its approval on the first reading, the petition was referred to the Sanggunian’s committee for further study and recommendation.

The committee, after evaluating the proposal, shall report to the council its findings and recommendation.

Should it receive favorable recommendation by the committee, the proposal will go through the rest of the usual local legislative procedure.

Should the city council reject the proposal or fail to act on it within 30 days from its presentation, the proponents will elevate the People’s Initiative to the Commission on Election (COMELEC), which will conduct a referendum.

In the referendum, at least 10 percent of voters of the City and 3 percent of each barangay must approve the proposed people’s ordinance. Once carried by the public in their sovereign capacity, the ordinance shall be in force and effect.

Under the proposed guidelines, the following principles which emanated from the consensus of the vendors and stakeholders and members of the technical working group shall be considered:

Built and Cultural Heritage Presentation; Adaptive Re-use; Regionalism and Cultural Inspiration; Wayfinding and Mobility; Inclusive Design; Open Spaces; Green Spaces and Urban Agriculture; Ecological Design; Green Solutions and Passive Systems; Sanitation, Resource, and Waste Management; Tech Integration; Safety and Security; Property and Vendor Management; and Disaster Resilience.

The petition proposes the construction of the following market zones, subject to certain height limitations and in accordance with the provisions of the National Building Code:

Administrative Building (not more than 3 floors); Office Building and Multipurpose Activity Centers (not more than 3 floors); Dry Goods (not more than 4 floors); Market Plaza (open space); Produce Zone I (not more than 5 floors); Produce Zone II (Not more than 5 floors); Heritage Zone (not more than 2 floors); Wet Market (not more than 2 floors); Parking Building (not more than 5 floors); STP MRF (not more than 2 floors); and Bagsakan and Commercial Building (not more than 2 floors).

During the construction of the modernized public market, affected vendors shall be relocated preferably within the city’s market area so as to keep the disruption of business to a minimum.

Under the proposal, the funding and management of the modernized public market shall be the primary responsibility of the City Government of Baguio. -Jordan G. Habbiling