ILOILO City – It is now up to the incoming Treñas administration to act on the anomalies uncovered at the Iloilo Terminal Market, according to Mayor Jose Espinosa III.
He would have wanted to pursue solutions but in deference to Cong. Jerry Treñas, “Whatever their procedures, kun paano ang pag solbar sang problema I will leave it to them.”
Treñas, the mayor-elect, would become the city’s new chief executive by June 30.
Espinosa discovered last month that some people were illegally making money at the Iloilo Terminal Market, also known as “Super”, and asked the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to unmask them.
“Fish vendors complained to me. They were being forced to cough up P50 for using tables, P10 for the trapal and P15 for the lights. Sin-o ang nagaremedyo sina?” said Espinosa.
The collection of these so-called fees were unauthorized, he stressed, and considered it as extortion.
According to Espinosa, the NBI should be able to come up with a report on the matter soon. But acting on the report is an “executive function sang mayor so I will leave it to the next mayor.”
The mayor also discovered early this month what he called “flying electricity connections” at the market, particularly at the fish section.
The electric bulbs of various fish stalls were connected to a private electricity meter and vendors were each made to pay P15 for their use.
“Ang connection sang mga suga indi iya sang market…sin-o na sya nga persona ang nagapanukot? May linya ang syudad, natingala ko nga nag-inamo ina,” said Espinosa.
He also noted the sprouting of illegal structures outside the market. He wondered who set them up and who were making money from vendors using these.
“Vendors inside the market have no sales because buyers are being cornered by those vending outside,” said Espinosa.
The market in-charge tried to shoo away the illegal vendors but he was met with resistance, lamented the mayor.
Espinosa denied that his move to investigate the alleged illegal fee collection at “Super” was politically-motivated as claimed by barangay captains Noel Soliman of Rizal Pala-pala II and Alain Rey Depatillo of Rizal Pala-pala I.
He pointed to a radio interview were Depatillo reportedly said he was renting out seven tables to “Super” vendors.
“Ngaa ara sya da sa sulod? Iya sang syudad propedad ngaa may lamesa ka da nga ginapabayran? Diin ang report mo sang income mo? May ginbayaran ka nga tax?” said Espinosa.
Barangays Rizal Pala-pala II and I were adjacent to “Super” so the mayor suggested to the NBI to first seek out the two barangay captains who were supporters of Treñas.
The city government’s Local Economic Enterprise Office (LEEO) which oversees the operation of public markets confirmed the problem.
“May mga grupo or individuals nga nagapanukot sa vendors other than the authorized collectors sang aton opisina. Amo ini gusto ni Mayor ma-imbestigar,” said LEEO chief Ariel Castañeda.
He also clarified that the daily arkabala from vendors that LEEO authorized collectors collect ranged only between P10 to 20.
From LEEO’s initial check, some 70 market vendors have fallen victim to unauthorized persons collecting fees./PN