Cebu News

House probe into Carbon modernization underway

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — The House committee on local government is set to look into the controversial joint venture agreement entered into by the Cebu City government and the Megawide Construction Corporation for the modernization of Carbon Market.

In a two-page resolution, six members of the Makabayan bloc sought an investigation into the P5.5 billion commercial project.

Reps. Carlos Isagani Zarate, Ferdinand Gaite and Eufemia Cullamat of Bayan Muna Partylist, France Castro of ACT Teachers Partylist, Arlene Brosas of Gabriela Women’s Party, and Sara Jane Elago of Kabataan Partylist described the Carbon modernization project as “emblematic” of government projects that clearly disregard the welfare of the people in the name of modernization, privatization, and commercialization. 

According to them, the agreement was signed without consultations among all stakeholders, especially the market vendors who strongly opposed the said project.

Some city councilors also admitted in one of their sessions that they have signed the agreement without reading its contents in full.

 It can be recalled that Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella, on behalf of the city government, entered into a JVA with Megawide Corporation on January 11, 2021 for the modernization of Carbon Market wherein the latter was granted a 50-year management contract. 

In their resolution, the six congressmen said the project will destroy the heritage building, which has been a part of the Cebuano culture. It will likewise destroy the traditional market destination of people in the city.

They said that the Carbon Market, which is the biggest public market in the city, has been a melting pot of farmers and fisherfolk from the neighboring provinces in Central Visayas.

Thousands of vendors who can no longer afford to rent the stalls in the multi-billion peso commercial center are expected to be displaced. It will also drastically increase the prices of basic commodities that will unduly burden the public, especially the ordinary consumers.

The project proponent, however, said that the new Carbon Market will be a one-stop-shop for all entrepreneurs and its mix of modern and traditional design, combined with shopper-friendly architecture that will give stakeholders a time to enjoy and grow their business at the same time.

In fact, the project is supported by the different business chambers like the Cebu Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Mandaue Chambers of Commerce and Industry Cebu Fil-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc. —FPL (FREEMAN)

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