ILOILO City – The city government has imposed tighter regulations at the Iloilo Terminal Market, popularly known as “Super”, following the discovery of it being utilized in the commercial sex trade.
It is closed by 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. and delivery of products is scheduled, according to Nestor Canong, chief of the city government’s Task Force on Morals and Values and Formation (TMVF) following initial talks with Local Economic Enterprise Office (LEEO) chief Ariel Castañeda.
Gates would also be built to secure the market’s eight entrances, he added.
These measures are on top of the deployment of barangay tanods in the market to check those entering and leaving, said Canong.
Canong’s task force reported to Mayor Jerry Treñas recently that the market was being used as sex den by pimps at night and that most of the prostituted people there were minors.
The mayor ordered the LEEO to conduct an investigation.
The LEEO is the city government office overseeing the operation of public markets.
Canong said makeshift structures inside the market being used for commercial sex have already been dismantled as ordered by the mayor.
Soon, security cameras would be installed in the market, he added.
TMVF and the Iloilo City Police Office’s Women and Children Protection Desk recently rescued 14 minors at the terminal market. Treñas subsequently convened their parents.
“Ginahalungan naton ang aton mga kabataan. Kon indi kamo mag-atipan sa mga kabataan, ari kami maga-remind nga inyo sila responsiblidad,” said Treñas.
The parents were also offered the opportunity to avail themselves of livelihood training by the Public Employment Service Office of the city government and the Technical Education and Skills Development Administration.
“Indi pwede nga diri sa aton syudad ginapabay-an n’yo ang inyo kabataan. Kamo nagdala sang inyo kabataan sa kalibutan, inyo sila responsibilidad,” Treñas told the parents.
“Super” as a sex den was just one of several alleged irregularities in the biggest public market in Iloilo City. Just this April, then mayor Jose Espinosa III revealed that fish vendors were being forced to cough up P50 for using tables, P10 for the trapal and P15 for the lights.
Espinosa also exposed what he called as “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.
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./PN