Manila Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada on Monday granted some of the wishes of public market vendors, including the junking of the plan to renovate the Santa Ana Market.
However, Estrada did not give in to the clamor to drop the renovation of Arranque, Trabajo, San Andres and Sampaloc markets, saying they are no longer safe.
Hundreds of Manila vendors on Monday marched to city hall to urge Estrada to drop plans to privatize the city’s 17 public markets.
The mayor also agreed that the collection of daily rental from vendors occupying temporary stalls at Quinta Market will be stopped.
He said all market renovations will be reviewed in consideration of the valid demands of the vendors.
“When I was mayor of San Juan, vendors were against the renovation of Agora Public Market. After its completion, some still refused to transfer. Now, it is going well and vendors are happy,” Estrada said.
However, he failed to mention that the first floor of Agora market is occupied by a big grocery store while the public market is on the basement floor.
Yesterday’s march was coupled with “market holidays” held by vendors in San Andres, Trabajo, Santa Ana, Sampaloc, and Quinta.
Former mayor Lito Atienza appealed to Estrada to reconsider his plan to privatize the city’s public markets.
“It is clearly against the City Charter and the Local Government Code because the operation of public markets is an essential, vital public service that should be provided by the local government and not by private corporations,” the Buhay Party-list representative said.
“The operation and service of public markets is to provide affordable goods for the poor. If these are privatized, the rent will surely go up to P80 per square meter instead of P20,” he said.
“I would have to oppose this particular effort because it deprives the poor. I was one of those who supported Mayor Erap. But this project will be a burden to the poor,” Atienza said.