Vendors close San Andres market
Vendors of the San Andres public market went on holiday Monday to protest its impending demolition in line with a joint venture agreement (JVA) between the Manila City government and a private company.
Around 6 a.m., some 300 market officials and vendors staged a noise barrage to oppose what they described as the privatization schemes of the city government. They later ended their mass action with a boodle fight.
Under City Ordinance No. 8346, or the Manila Joint Venture Ordinance, several public markets in the city will be closed to pave the way for their rehabilitation under a joint venture or public-private sector partnership.
First to be “modernized” was Quinta Market, which was demolished in July. Under the JVA signed by the Manila government with Marketlife Management and Leasing Corp., the private firm would renovate the market at a cost of P90 million and operate it for 25 years.
According to Bayan-Manila spokesman Ram Bautista, the city council has already passed on second reading a resolution approving the demolition of the San Andres public market.
Jojo Palana, president of the market’s vendors association, claimed that the “privatization” of the market by XRC Mall Developers Inc. would result in an increase in the prices of goods and stall rental fees, affecting not just the vendors but also buyers.
“It also removes from the local government the obligation to ensure the rights of vendors and consumers,” Bautista added.
But Bambi Purisima, the city government’s public information officer, said that under the JVA, rental fees would not increase in the first two years. In the succeeding years, there will be a 5 to 10-percent increase, he added.
Saturnino Galivas, head of the San Andres Vendors and Community Multipurpose Cooperative, meanwhile, said there was no need for the government to enter into a partnership with private organizations since there was enough money set aside since 1969 for the market’s rehabilitation.
He pointed to the “sinking fund” which represents 30 percent of the annual gross market revenues. Under Republic Act No. 6039, the money can be used to finance the construction of a new market.
“We can utilize this for the renovation of San Andres,” Galivas said.
Contacted for comment, Purisima said that vendors need not worry as they were assured of a spot in the market after its renovation.
“It’s still the Manila government that will oversee the market operations, only in partnership with private organizations,” he added.
On Sept. 14, the vendors and officials of at least seven of the 13 public markets in Manila plan to stage a market holiday. The details are still being worked out but expected to participate are vendors from Quinta market, San Andres market as well as those from the Sampaloc, Sta. Ana, Dagonoy and Pritil public markets.