Digital marketplace helps vendors, shoppers

Due to the pandemic, a citizen-based group has established a digital marketplace to help market vendors and shoppers. 

(Photo from Palengkonek)

Dhanika Garcia of PalengCares, a social responsibility arm of Palengkonek, said the digital marketplace started as an advocacy project that aims to empower local palengkes (market) by providing a platform where they could trade their products and services online.

"We wanted to help market vendors to adapt into the digital world kasi sila yung naiiwan, halos wala na sila kinikita dahil bawas na talaga ang walk-ins (because they are being left behind because only a few now go to the market)," Garcia told Manila Bulletin.

"We studied how we can help our market vendors and we got determined to push the advocacy project dahil (because) we were moved by the stories of the market vendors. We saw din sa (in) news na (that) social distancing became a big problem sa (in our) markets," she added.

For Garcia, launching the digital palengke is like hitting two birds with one stone since it offers a safer and convenient way to buy goods while supporting the "stay home" campaign of the national government.

" compromise buying market products while following the government's safety protocol," she said.

Shoppers can order vegetables, fruits, or meat directly from Palengkonek's website.

To order, customers may go, register, and log-in. Next, click shop and choose market locations then add to Palengcart. Lastly, fill up payment information and check-out.

Delivery fee is shouldered by the customers and can be paid through cash-on-delivery, Gcash, or bank transfer.

Palengkonek helps market vendors compete in the online world and gives them additional income through online sales, delivery, and other proceeds.  It also provides income to displaced workers through tapping them as their delivery arm.

The digital marketplace allocates portions of its convenience fee to their community activities like community kitchen and their advocacy partner, MentalHealthPH.

Palengkonek has partnered with local government units (LGU) in Pampanga, Rizal, Bataan, and currently in partnership with the local government of Quezon City.

The LGUs' role is to mediate between public markets and Palengkonek for their locals to access market vendors' goods online.

"With Palengkonek, LGU can focus on managing their physical markets while the digital world, so it's a joint effort by LGU and Palengkonek. It is actually the LGU who gains more in the long run, not to mention promoting 'stay home, stay safe' protocol," Garcia said.