CEBU CITY — Clad in black shirts, a group of vendors gathered in front of the City Hall on Monday to protest what they said an impending privatization of the Carbon Public Market.
At least 100 vendors and stakeholders of the country’s oldest public market asked City Mayor Edgardo Labella to junk the joint venture agreement (JVA) that the city entered into with Megawide Construction Corporation, the engineering company which won the right to redevelop the market.
The vendors expressed their sentiments for at least 15 minutes before they were asked by the police to disperse.
During the rally, the groups also submitted copies of their petition addressed to Labella.
The petition, which was signed by various leaders of various vendors association in the city, is urging the mayor to junk the (JVA).
“The rally ended peacefully. We gave them at least 10 minutes to do their protest,” said Police Maj. Edgar Labe, chief of the Waterfront Police Station.
Megawide has said that the market will not be privatized as it will be co-managed by the company and the city government.
Still, the vendors contended that there were provisions in the JVA that the market may be privatized after its redevelopment.
Prior to Monday’s rally, there had been other groups of vendors who expressed opposition to the development of the market.
The Cebu City United Vendors Association (CCUVA), Cebu Market Vendors Multi-purpose Cooperative (CEMVEDCO), and barangay officials from Ermita have previously asked the city no to allow a private group to manage the market.
The city and Megawide conducted the ceremonial signing of the JVA last January 15.
Within the year, Megawide will start Phase 1 of the redevelopment of the market which houses over 4,000 vendors and stall owners.
Megawide has promised that no vendor will be displaced in the P5-billion project.