The ever crowd-pulling Cogon Market at the heart of the city has been a one-stop shop for varieties of goods and services. From raw materials for food and shop for salons and barbershop, Cogon Market has it all. Yet, throughout the years, it has seen drastic changes and issues which might have brought about by the city’s booming economic status. Indeed, the city is soaring high and hoping for more development. However, there are concerns raised by the citizens that are deemed too important to be overlooked.
Cogon Market then
Cogon Market or simply referred to as ‘Cogon’ is the city’s biggest public market, the center point of business transaction and transportation in the nearby cities and provinces of Mindanao. The construction of the market was finished in 2004 under the build-operate-transfer scheme. The finished building has three storey, four escalators, an elevator and blowers for proper ventilation. And was bought by the former mayor of the city, Mayor Vicente Emano, for P259-million who boasted about creating it as a ‘world-class’ market.
However, over the years, the former mayor’s dream turned out to be the opposite. The surroundings of the market building were filled with street vendors that made the area to look a bit untidy and contributed to the heavy traffic. Also, the combined garbage from nearby businesses, stalls, and even pedestrians resulted to the unpleasant smell of the area.
According to some, these incidents have transpired when the city government leased half of the second floor and the entire third floor of the market to a shopping store in the city. Despite the thickness of the area, Emano still permitted the vendors to use the sidewalk areas to do their business.
Cogon Market now
In the new administration of the current mayor, Mayor Oscar Moreno, the city government found ways to improve the city, specifically the situation in the Cogon Market area. With this, he ordered the removal of the stalls of small businesses through the “Operation Hapsay Dalan” in 2013 to create more space for a less congested flow of traffic.
Days after the start of the operation, many were elated upon seeing the new and improved Cogon Public Market. The once crowded, unruly, and messy market has now turned to be an organized, neat and fresh-looking one.
The J.R Borja Street along the market now has four lanes, allowing more space for vehicles to move freely. Thus, Cogon Market has become cleaner and somewhat cozy.
Before, city forces were not able to remove stalls along the sidewalks because some vendors were using a name usage known as “Alas” referring to the former Emano a long time ago. Many are complaining that because of the “Hapsay Dalan” project of Mayor Moreno, they will lose their source of living which they will use to buy their family food to eat and to send their children to school.
One concerned citizen has been reported to be calling on the government to provide solutions for the vendors’ concerns and not just to discharge them out to the space provided for their businesses. Unfortunately, the RTA convinced these vendors to remove their stalls voluntarily and went on with the “Hapsay Dalan” of Mayor Moreno.
Last Tuesday afternoon, the large tarpaulins covering a big portion of the market and other stuff were removed that unhide a clearer view of the area was shown.
Moreover, RTA Consultant and Chief of Operation of Hapsay Dalan- Lawyer Egay Uy stated that space on the second floor of the market has 6,00 square meters of available space that can accommodate approximately 2,000 stalls.
Ambulant vendors or those small businesses allowed on specific hours, around Cogon Market are only allowed to do their businesses around 8:00 in the evening until 5:00 in the morning.
According to the Chairman of CEED, Kagawad Ian Mark Nacaya, the decision was finalized to ease motorists of traffic issues around the area. He explained that the vendors are not totally deprived of their livelihood but instead they are given scheduled time for their business.
Some vendors, however, have already aired their sentiments, since the night schedule will not invite more buyers and might result in a decrease in their profit.
Mayor Moreno urged the ambulant vendors to follow their schedule because it will help better the city specifically on improving the flow of traffic.
The City Government is doing their best for the betterment of the society. Thus, we have to obey the rules and regulations being implemented. How can we have a better society if we’re stuck from where we are right now? Let’s go out and move forward by embracing these changes.