Redevelopment of City’s central,  terminal markets goes full throttle

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas and representatives from SM Prime Holdings, Inc. lead the ceremonial groundbreaking of the redevelopment of the Iloilo Central Public Market and Iloilo Terminal Market on September 18, 2023. The rehabilitation of the two major public markets of the city is expected to be completed by December 2024. (Rjay Zuriaga Castor photo)

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

The redevelopment of Iloilo City’s two biggest markets — the Iloilo Central and Terminal Markets — is in full swing following the groundbreaking ceremony on Monday.

The rehabilitation of the two major public markets is made possible through a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) between the Iloilo City government and SM Prime Holdings, Inc. (SMPHI).

Iloilo City Mayor JerryTreñas noted that the city government alone lacks the resources to rehabilitate these markets.

“Ang duwa ni ka markets indi ta ni mapaubra kung kita lang ang magasto kay it will be very expensive for us,” he said, emphasizing that with the PPP, Iloilo City can achieve more.

In August last year, the city government awarded SMPHI the 25-year lease agreement for the redevelopment of the two markets.

Treñas stressed that the PPP is a “win-win situation” as it will benefit not only the city and SMPHI but also the market vendors and the general public.

“We are one because we believe that as a community together with SM, we can dream of Iloilo to the next level,” the city mayor added.

The Local Economic Enterprise Office of the City Government will oversee the management of the public markets once completed.

Senior Vice Presidents for Operations of SM Supermalls Bien C. Mateo said the redevelopment of the markets is set to bring around 2,000 employment opportunities for the city.

“In every area where we come in, we will not be your partner for long, we will be your partner for good,” he added.

Dante Mangalisan, president of the Iloilo Terminal Market Vendors Association, lauded Treñas’ efforts in pushing for the redevelopment of the Terminal Market or commonly known as “Super.”

“Magkakaroon na kami ng malinis, ligtas, mas malawak na pasilidad para sa aming paninda at mas mapadali ang paghahanap sa amin ng aming suki dahil may proper zoning and sectioning na kami,” he said.

“Super” serves as a major hub for various commodities in Iloilo City and supplies products to different regions.

Meanwhile, Josefino Barroca of the Iloilo Central Market thanked the city government for taking proactive steps to address and respond to the questions and doubts raised by the market vendors.

“Despite of the concerns we had on the first few months of the announcement of the rehabilitation of the public markets through PPP project, [the] lloilo City government made its way to ensure that our questions are catered and answered,” he said.

Barroca highlighted that the redevelopment will not only benefit the customers but also the market vendors through a wider and safer space for their businesses.

“[We] can compete with other business establishments [and] hindi [na]  kami pagtulukon “mahigko kag mabaho nga lugar” but we can be organized and empowered market vendors with a nicer space for our consumers,” he added.

The redevelopment costs P1.5 million each. It is expected to be finished by December 2024.

Monday’s groundbreaking concludes years of attempts by the City Government since the term of former mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog to rehabilitate the two busiest markets under the PPP mode.

Opposition from certain market stall renters and groups, who claimed that the project will lead to the privatization of the markets, stalled the efforts.

But more than a yearlong public relations campaign by City Hall, apart from the monolithic grip of the current administration on the levers of political power, paid off and led to the project eventually taking off.

The newly renovated markets will feature retail spaces and advanced facilities such as a building management system, fire detection and alarm systems, and a computerized maintenance management system for tracking maintenance operations.

In addition to the market renovations, the plan also includes the construction of a parking area that can accommodate around 500 vehicles.

Displaced market vendors of the Central Market are currently relocated to Rizal Street in front of the PHINMA University of Iloilo, while those at the Terminal Market are relocated to their respective temporary stalls in Mabini Street.

There are around 1,200 vendors at the Central Market, while around 1,600 vendors at the Terminal Market.