Carbon Market vendors end 3-day strike with renewed hopes for Congressional Inquiry
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Carbon Market vendors who went on strike since Monday, January 24, 2022, have ended their protest today with the hopes that a Congressional Inquiry will happen to look into the Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) between Cebu City and Megawide Construction Corp. for the Carbon Market modernization.
Some vendor-leaders and representatives met with Gabriela for Women Partylist Representative Arlene Brosas on Wednesday, January 26, 2022, to air their concerns on the Carbon Modernization program.
Brosas has authored Resolution 2051 in Congress calling on the committee on local government to investigate the P5.5 billion modernization project of the Cebu City government and Megawide.
It was filed on July 2021, but no progress has been made yet and the resolution has not been endorsed by the committee on local government.
“Kaya din nagprivilege speech din tayo nuung nakaraan para talagang mapatambol sa Congresso. Hindi din tayo nawawalan ng pag-asa kasi meron pang last session days, three more days sa susunod nga linggo. Pagsisikapan din nating yun,” said Brosas.
The congresswoman also urged the vendors to call on their own District Representatives and other Cebu Representatives in Congress to co-author the resolution to highlight the need for the inquiry and investigation.
She urged the vendors to lobby their complaints on the lack of consultation to vendors, the issue on management and collection of fees in the planned new Carbon Market, and the alleged privatization of the market to Cebuano representatives so they can put pressure on the Congress to tackle the issue within their term.
“Kasi po importante na mismo yung mga nandito na mga Congressman ay sumoporta sa ipinaglalaban natin. Dapat sila mismo, in their individual capacity makapirma kung hindi man nuon sa petition ninyo, then dito sa House Resolution natin maari sila mag co-author,” said Brosas.
She notes that a Congressional Inquiry will help give clarity on the issues of the project as the Cebu City Government, Megawide, agencies, and the vendors will be called to the Congress to explain.
The investigation would also identify if the JVA has indeed faults in the contract and the Congress can make interventions for such.
Cebu City South District Representative Rodrigo “Bebot” Abellanosa, told CDN Digital, that he has long lobbied for a Congressional Inquiry on the Carbon Market JVA as early as July 27, 2021, around the same time Gabriela filed theirs.
However, he notes that the election campaign break is coming up and the issue may not be tackled with the remaining session days.
“Of course, I vehemently support the plight of the Carbon vendors and the move to conduct a Congressional inquiry into the irregular JVA. In fact, I did file my own House resolution to that effect last year and lobbied for the immediate investigation.”
“With only one week to go before the election campaign break, the concerned House committees might be able to convene after the elections, or we look forward to carrying this over to the succeeding 19th Congress,” said Abellanosa in a text message.
Abellanosa is no longer running for a congressional seat in the May 2022 polls as he is on his third consecutive term, but his son, BG, will be running in his stead.
The incumbent congressman said that should his son win the South District seat, BG will continue to fight for the Carbon Market vendors and this Congressional Inquiry.
“I firmly believe so. That’s already one of his agenda, and it’s worth fighting for,” said Abellanosa.
Hope for a preliminary injunction
The Carbon vendors also hope that the case they filed for a writ for a preliminary injunction over the JVA in court will be granted.
Lawyer Abraham Acosta, the legal counsel of the plaintiffs said that while the court has denied their request for a temporary restraining order (TRO), the main case will still be heard.
They have also filed a motion for reconsideration to the dismissal of the TRO and they expect the response of the city government on it by February. All filings have been delayed because the Regional Trial Courts in Cebu City are closed.
The court has also moved the hearing for the writ for preliminary injunction and mediation hearings because of the closure of the courts in the city.
“Naghope mi nga maschedule pud na, and we will take it from there,” said Acosta.
As for the ruling of Judge Soliver Peras of RTC Branch 7 that the plaintiffs do not possess the right that needs to be protected from the questioned JVA, Acosta said they have sent their explanation along with their motion for reconsideration over the decision. /rcg
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