Wanted: Permanent night market

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit Avila (The Freeman) - December 12, 2019 - 12:00am

It is time for me to talk about the supposed night market that Cebu City has apparently started without meeting with the businessmen who are taxpayers, which means, the officials of the city must also look into their plight. For starters, the night market should start like it usually does at 8:30 p.m. as this has always been the way they did it in the past. However, now, the night market vendors start operating at 6 p.m. and let me tell you that many shopkeepers are afraid that they are losing their Christmas cheer. City Hall must listen to their pleas.

Another major problem came up with the traffic police setting up roadblocks disallowing public transportation from passing through Colon Street. Clearly, the people behind this endeavor did not count the fact that night market means people go shopping and, therefore, when they are done, they need to ride a jeepney or taxi as close as possible because of the goods they need to bring to their home. However, thanks to these mindless people running the whole damn show, they prevent public transportation from entering Colon, a major thoroughfare in Cebu City, leaving perennial traffic congestion problem.

Hence, by closing Colon from public transportation, they have also worsened the traffic congestion along Sanciangko or other streets nearby. This happens when you close an important street like Colon. This only gives you an idea that the new kids on the block never looked into the interest of the public those shops along Colon. In short, night market will kill the businesses along Colon. Instead of helping all Cebuanos to enjoy their Christmas shopping. Just think that the shopkeepers and shoppers are already complaining about the night market. Only the vendors are happy.

We also had problems with the night market in the previous administration, but then mayor Tomas Osmeña didn’t care to listen saying that the shop owners were already rich while the poor needed to earn their keep. But in truth, these small micro businesses are having business in Colon district because they really can’t afford to lease shops in our shopping malls. This is why a great majority of shoppers still come to Colon because their prices are so much lower than shopping in Shoemart or Ayala Malls. Most of these shop owners are not rich as what the former mayor thought they were. I hope that Mayor Edgar Labella listens to us.

At this juncture, I would like to propose a revision of the program for the night market. First, for the vendors to operate by 8:30 p.m. so at least those shopowners can be satisfied that City Hall listens to their concerns. Second, and I guess most important of all, is to allow a path for public transportation so that the shoppers do not have to walk far with their heavy

purchases for a ride home. Then, of course, the city must ensure that the vendors always maintain a clean area because most of their trash ends up clogging our canals and road drainage.

There is no doubt that many City Hall insiders have gone to Bangkok, Taiwan or Hongkong and have seen their night markets and how and where they are operating. I have been to these places and, clearly, they have a night market all year long. That’s because they put their night market in a place which has turned into a tourist spot. I would like to suggest that the Senior Citizen’s Park be the entrance to a more elegant night market that ends at the old Compania Maritima building, which occupies 42,000 square meters along Quezon Boulevard, between P. Burgos St. and Lapu-Lapu St. It’s very accessible to the Carbon market. If we make this our permanent night market, it can become a major tourist destination for Cebu where there is no closure of a major roadway and shoppers can find a parking space unlike in Colon St. where you can’t find a parking space.

Think of this solution to a temporary problem and make it permanent.

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For email responses to this article, write to vsbobita@gmail.com. His columns can be accessed through www.philstar.com

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