More Carbon vendors oppose privatization, want JVA junked
CEBU CITY, Philippines—More vendors from the Carbon Public Market here joined the call for officials of the Cebu City Government to reconsider the joint venture it has entered with engineering giant Megawide Construction Corporation in redeveloping the market.
At least 100 vendors and stakeholders of Carbon took to the streets and rallied in front of Cebu City Hall on Monday, March 1, 2021, for at least 15 minutes.
They were seen wearing black shirts expressing opposition to have Carbon privatized. The groups also submitted copies of their signed petition addressed to Labella, urging him to drop the joint venture agreement (JVA).
One of those who participated in the rally was Kaloy Tampus, a trisikad driver in Carbon Public Market.
“Not only vendors but also trisikad drivers like us are affected by this project. What would become of our livelihood if this project will continue?” said Tampus in Cebuano.
“If we’re going to modernize Carbon, it should be led by the government, and not private entities. And their contract is not clear. They only made assurance to vendors but what about others relying on Carbon as their livelihood, like us trisikad drivers?” he added.
The rally ended peacefully, said Police Major Edgar Labe, chief of the Waterfront Police Station.
“We gave them at least 10 minutes to do their protest and dispersed them. It was a peaceful rally and they were cooperative,” said Labe in Cebuano.
‘City owns Carbon, not Megawide’
For his part, Labella assured all stakeholders of Carbon Public Market that the city government will not give up its managerial and administrative authorities after the market’s major facelift.
“It is very categorical and clear that it is still the city that controls even the pricing, and the rental. (These) has to pass through to the city by way of an ordinance,” said Labella.
“They should also remember that the city owns Carbon market. Megawide does not own Carbon market. They are investors… They (vendors) have nothing to worry. These are unfounded fears,” he added.
This is not the first time a group of vendors and workers relying on Carbon Public Market called for the city to withdraw from its agreement with Megawide.
It can be recalled that the Cebu City United Vendors Association (CCUVA), Cebu Market Vendors Multi-purpose Cooperative (CEMVEDCO), and barangay officials from Ermita also opposed for Carbon market to be managed by private firms.
They requested city officials to revise several provisions found in the JVA, which they deemed disadvantageous both to stakeholders of Carbon and the city government.
Megawide submitted an unsolicited proposal to Labella’s administration for the redevelopment of Carbon Public Market, the city’s largest wet market which houses over 4,000 vendors and stall owners.
The deal was formally inked in a ceremonial signing of the JVA last January 15.
Megawide, which also happened to be a co-operator of the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA), is set to start Phase 1 of Carbon’s redevelopment within this year.
They will shoulder costs up to P5 billion for Phase 1 of the facelifting.
Executives from Megawide earlier promised vendors that they will not lose their livelihoods during and after the implementation of the project.
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