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Cebu News

COLON NIGHT MARKET: Concerns raised over fee collection from vendors

Iris Hazel Mascardo - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — An executive session was conducted by the Cebu City Council to shed light on the concerns hounding the operation of the Cebu City Night Market, specifically on the absence of a memorandum of agreement with the Cebu Coalition of United Vendors Association (CCUVA), who has been managing the Colon night market for years.

Last Wednesday morning, an executive session was called following the approved resolution of Cebu City Councilor Nestor Archival Sr. asking the city legal office if there is an existing Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) or any agreement that authorizes the CCUVA to operate and manage the night market program of Cebu City.

During the session, Ramon Mikhail Duyongco of Cebu City Legal said they do not have such MOA. He, however, relayed an opinion by the previous City legal who said that their office is not the repository of records of agreements entered with the city.

“In the same legal opinion he says that the public roads in which these night markets operate cannot be subject to agreement as these roads are public domain,” Duyongco said reading the opinion.

Archival’s resolution was submitted after it was found that the operation and management of the Night Market is entrusted to the CCUVA in coordination with the Cebu City Market Authority.

It further reads that the CCUVA was collecting space rental, "arkabala", and electricity expense, and among others in the amount of  P200 daily per stall while the amount collected as cash ticket or "arkabala" by the City Treasurer's Office is only P20 daily per stall.

During the discussion, Councilor Jocelyn Pesquera, chair of the Committee of Tourism of Cebu City Council said that the Colon night market started with CCUVA as one of the members.

According to her, it was previously the Cebu City Tourism Commission Office who organized the night market wherein they sought the assistance from various vendor organizations.

During their time, she added, they did not collect any fees from the vendors.

In a separate interview, Maria Pino, organizer of Colon Night Market, said that the night market operation also equates to maintenance fees, including the electricity and support groups that will be overseeing the area.

“So nasabotan namo nga mag amotay mi kada adlaw mag hatagan mig tag 200 sa mga manindahay. Unya kanang 200 mao na among kuhaan sa mga gasto alang sa pagpanindot dira sa Colon,” said Pino.

Pino clarified that the night market is not a project of Cebu City. She stressed that it was them, the vendors, who sought the approval of the city to conduct the night market.

“Nahatag ang night market pero di man sad pwede nga dili ta mugasto kay di man ta makapangayog panggasto sa city, so self support ning amo,” she added.

According to her, their revenues go to bigger causes such as organizing charities and donations to various organizations in the city.

“Kay ang organizer kami man. So kami sad diri sa CCUVA, kami say nagplano  nga makatabang mi in return nga gihatag na kahigayonan sa atong syudad na makatinda mi,” said Pino.

As to the MOA in question, Pino said there is no need for such considering that the night market is a project of the vendors and that they are only asking the city government for support.

This support includes the signature of the mayor of Cebu City that authorizes them to conduct the night market, as well as the approval of CCTO for road closures during their operating hours, and a resolution from the Cebu City that approves this.

“Karon og maghisgot man gud ta og MOA, duna tay duha ka person, duha ka entity nga nagkasinabot na mao ni siya kanang ako ning proyekto then kamo akong padad-on then mag MOA jud na. Karon kay wa man ni kay kining night market sugyot man ni sa katawhan, sugyot sa mga vendors,” said Pino. — /ATO (FREEMAN)

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