COMMENTARY: Panabo’s Market Mall

March 3-9,2011

Barbecue stall owners and block tienda leasees currently positioned in the central market of the Panabo City are reportedly offering the city government a build-operate scheme. That would mean they would be the ones who would fund for the construction of the Market Mall which will replace the rundown central market building complex. The proposal has certainly good intent, but it came at a time when the city government led by Mayor Jose Silvosa Sr has already a plan and is about to commence the work pending their relocation to the first to be constructed Food Centrum just nearby. The bank loan for the Market Mall, the mayor bared earlier, is already in the pipeline.

Mayor Silvosa has good intents on why he is pursuing the Market Mall: he is optimistic that investors would all the more flock in his city when good, positive image and euphoria come out from realization of income-generating infrastructure projects right at the center of the city’s downtown area. Good tiding comes up front with this strategic Market Mall project at the central business district. The city has all been known to be a commercial hub most greatly benefited by the expansions of the cavendish banana plantations through the four decades starting when cavendish banana was introduced in the province in the late 60s or early 70s. That is shown by the sustained corporate growths of the Tadeco banana conglomerate.

The proposal of current stall leasees is good, but in this case, the people not only need cash from banks to immediately implement and complete the project but a sense of collective ownership to the Market Mall. If the leasees are given the chance to construct out also from bank borrowing, chances are they would think that the building belongs to them if not, “owned” by them and in effect highest stall bidders and big investment locators like retail, distribution businesses and food chains are shut out from the opportunities offered.

It looks like that high-financing investors which would provide Panabo City of new and diversified needs, products and services to keep up with the fast-pacing city developments and meet the upscale taste and demands of the populace as trappings of modernization continuously creep in to remote villages in time with global trade liberalization.

As the current stall leasees’ proposal came too late in the day, the immediate challenge of the Panabo City government is to fast track the construction of the Food Centrum just nearby the location of the central market. It is a too proximate relocation site for the stall leasees to sustain their livelihood, business activity. Without it, the construction of the malllengke cannot proceed. But quite obviously Mayor JoeSil and his city executives have the preponderance on the resistance to change inwardly kept by the current leasees. They’re on the right track. The offer should not become a political issue as issues relating the public market have often been used and exploited by politicians before and during electoral campaign seasons in their bid to capture power in the municipal or city hall.- Cha Monforte

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