Vendors oppose Burgos market rehab reconsideration

Mayor Alfredo “Albee” Benitez in a dialogue with Burgos Market vendors. (Isugid kay Mayor FB page/File )

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD CITY — Some vendors at the Burgos public market are urging Mayor Alfredo “Albee” Benitez to heed their concerns as they continue to oppose the market renovation amid the city’s reconsideration plan.

In a press briefing at the market’s fish section last Thursday, Carmelo Lacson Jr., vice president of the Burgos Market Vendors’ Association, said that out of 343 stall owners and actual market occupants, only 15 supported the rehabilitation project, while 328 voted against it.

“This is consensus. This is not a joke. We asked the occupants of every market stall,” Lacson said in Hiligaynon.

The vendors reiterated their opposition after learning of the city’s reconsideration to renovate the market, following a reported signature campaign or petition by some groups of vendors and consumers expressing their interest in the project.

“We’re confused,” Lacson said, emphasizing that they have the actual list of stall owners who opposed the project.

Lacson noted that consumers will not be directly affected by the proposed renovation because they have the option to choose which market to buy their commodities from.

In contrast, the vendors experience the situation firsthand as they stay in the market from morning until evening.

Lacson stressed that there’s no political motivation behind their decision, as they speak based on their individual and group experiences.

“This is our own initiative,” he said.

Benitez recently said he is open to reconsidering the renovation of the Burgos public market if groups of vendors and consumers can prove that the majority are in favor of the project.

“They should hurry while I’m still here,” he added.

Earlier, Benitez announced the cancellation of the project after most vendors opposed it due to livelihood concerns.

Of at least 700 members of the vendor’s association, 237 voted against the renovation, and only 34 voted in favor.

The allocated budget of P525 million for the proposed renovation will be redirected to other projects instead.

Lacson mentioned that if the city proceeds with the project despite their opposition, it would contradict the mayor’s earlier promise not to force them, stating that the funds could be transferred to other projects.

Other vendors also voiced that they are not ready for the renovation, citing previous rehabilitation under the past administration.

They only want the city to repair some parts of the market, not a total renovation of the structure.