Much ado about the Central Market

By Herbert Vego

THIS paper’s editorial last Saturday zeroed in on the ongoing demolition of the Iloilo City Central Market for being “like a ghost that refuses to die despite Mayor Jerry Treñas’ efforts to assure the public of the demolition’s regularity through rose advertorials and canned statements of support.”

Columnist Alex P. Vidal, on the other hand, opined that the accusation of Iloilo historian and Capitol information officer Nereo Lujan against Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas was necessary to prod the latter to defend “City Hall’s recent decision to demolish the 80-year-old art deco façade of the metropolis’ Iloilo Central Market.”

I agree that any action on the matter by the Office of the Ombudsman would somehow resolve this controversy.

However, why not settle the issue over coffee? After all, the mayor and the former newsman are still in speaking terms.

No doubt the mayor agrees with Lujan’s observation that “heritage conservation laws exist for a reason: to protect and preserve our cultural and historical assets for future generations.”

How could the mayor disagree?

Indeed, the National Cultural Heritage Act (RA No. 10066), created the Philippine Registry of Cultural Property (PRECUP), which is tasked to preserve historic buildings aged 50 or older.

Treñas asserts, however, that the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) has consented to the redevelopment of the project.

If it were for him alone to decide, complete demolition of the prime city market, including its 80-year-old art deco façade, would have been a “no no”.  He would have preferred purely restoration work.

To see why, let us recall that one of the laws he authored in his last term as congressman was the National Heritage Act of 2009 (RA 10555) calling for the rehabilitation of the Jaro Cathedral, Molo Church, Plaza Libertad Complex, Fort San Pedro, Jaro Plaza Complex, Molo Plaza Complex and Iloilo City Central Business District as “Cultural Heritage Tourism Zone”.

Take note that the Central Market is part of the Central Business District intended for preservation and restoration.

Therefore, it was never the mayor’s intention to junk the old art deco market entrance. But he had no choice but to listen to expert engineers who had declared it “no longer safe” – as unsafe as the defunct Cacho Building, which collapsed, killing some of its occupants.

What if we ask our good friend Nereo to also comment on the allegedly defective ₱185-million multi-level parking building of the Iloilo Provincial Capitol? Will he do it?

Say you, Maritess?

-oOo-

TURNING GARBAGE INTO ENERGY

CONVERTING garbage into sustainable energy is a technology that should have already been implemented in Iloilo City years ago.

“Tun-an ta,” to quote Mayor Jerry Treñas.

Why not? The process burns organic substances contained in waste materials, converting them into ash, exhaust gas and heat. It means eliminating waste while generating energy to address the growing electricity demand.

A modern waste incinerator is a giant combustion device used to burn waste materials at high temperature without belching poisonous gasses.

The snag is that it would cost a fortune, P2.3 billion, to install an incinerator that can process up to 475 tons of solid waste per day in order to generate up to 3.5 megawatts of power.

Fortunately, three giant companies — MetPower Venture Partners Holdings, Inc., Metro Pacific Water Investments Corp., and Metro Pacific Iloilo Water – are willing to go into a joint-venture agreement to do it.

The project to be constructed at Barangay Ingore has been on City Hall’s drawing board since 2019.

Of course, Inday Jam-jam would not object.

-oOo-

‘KEEP LOOKING WHEN COOKING’

THAT is the best safety advice to homeowners who cook food at home. That is very important when using stoves and ovens, according to our friends from MORE Electric and Power Corp.  To go on…

“It’s crucial to keep flammable items, such as kitchen towels and curtains, away from heat sources.

“Never use water to put out a grease fire. Instead, close the lid to suffocate the flames by cutting off the oxygen supply. Additionally, have a fire extinguisher easily accessible in your kitchen. Regular cleaning of your oven and stove top is important to prevent grease buildup, which can become a significant fire hazard.”

By following the above safety measures, you may save not only your food but also your house from burning.

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