Carbon Market vendors: Are ‘extortion-tainted’ certificates valid?
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Carbon Market vendors are now questioning the validity of the certificates released to them assuring them of a spot in the interim market in Unit II because of the extortion issue.
Ann Ariosa, one of the vendor leaders in the Warwick Barracks and Freedom Park area, said that the certificates were signed by outgoing Market Operations Division head, Irvin Cabales, who no longer has authority in the market.
He will soon be replaced by Racquel Arce, who is the actual Market Administrator of the city government according to plantilia.
It can be recalled that recently, an extortion scandal was unearthed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), wherein vendors were being asked to pay P100,000 to a market administrative aid in exchange for a Certificate of Award.
The vendors are now asking if the certificates they received were in fact legitimate and will this assure them a spot in the interim market, or even the new Carbon Market, once it is done.
“Problemado man gyod ang certification kay namantsahan na og corruption. Ipahunong lang unta ang certification. Dapat mosubmit og members, masterlist, ang kada vendor organizations para mao nay kuhaan og basis sa pwesto. Iraffle ang pwesto, para malikayan ang corruption,” said Ariosa.
Many of the vendors have complained that those who were victims of extortion were given privileges in the interim market stalls, placing the rest at a disadvantage.
Erwin Goc-ong, the president of Carbon Market Vendors Development Cooperative (CEMVEDCO), appealed to the City Council to stop any activity, including the transfer of the vendors, until the joint-venture-agreement (JVA) between the city government and Megawide is cured.
Maria Pino, another vendor leader, is also appealing to the city government to tackle the collection issue, as the vendors want the city to collect the rent, and not Megawide.
She said that without these curative measures, the project must be put to a temporary halt.
The vendors proposed an alternative plan to the City Council involving roughly an P800 million development for the Freedom Park, Warwick Barrack, Unit I, II, and III, that would focus more on the current stall and ambulant vendors’ needs.
They hope that the city government can take their plans into consideration.
Accountant-lawyer, Floro Montenegro, presented to the City Council the deficiencies in rental revenue, showing that while the city will earn P3.7 billion from the Megawide joint venture in the next 50 years, Megawide is expected to earn P69 billion for the same time period, considering the rate increase projection.
This puts the city at a massive disadvantage when in fact, the development company took a loan to fund the project, a loan that may have been granted because the city government agreed to the JVA.
On the other hand, the alternative development the vendors are proposing will only cost P800 million but will generate a sizable income for the city of up to P5.2 to P18 billion in the next 50 years, depending on the revenue of the market.
“Better in the sense that the city is making more money because everything is at cost to the city. The alternative that was presented can technically provide a better return for the city depending on the rate,” Montenegro.
He urged the city government that whatever line of action they should pursue the JVA project, they must seek a higher return from Megawide because of the projected income of the market.
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