“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” Maya Angelou
By Alex P. Vidal
It is but normal for some stall owners at Iloilo central market to panic and fear possible displacement once city hall pushes through with its Central Business District revitalization project.
Any change is always opposed and viewed with pessimism even before its good results are felt. Knee-jerk reactions from stakeholders are commonly heard especially during introduction stage of any proposed development project.
Revamps and reorganization are always viewed as threats by Doubting Thomases accustomed to resist fresh ideas.
News of proposed improvement in central market certainly has sent jitters most particularly to illegal vendors, who will be the direct casualties of this project.
They fear and suspect the move is a shake-up meant to eliminate them and distract their normal life.
There are several reasons why stall owners or vendors fear changes. Either they don’t know what city hall officials are talking about; they are worried that something bad will happen to their businesses; they don’t trust people who will implement or those who propose to implement the project; they get out ahead of other stakeholders; they don’t give the vendors a say on their own future; they treat vendors with disrespect; or they ignore the history of change in the public market.
It is imperative that more public hearings and dialogues are held in order to iron out some kinks. No stone should be left unturned to ensure that both parties are able to eke out a win-win solution.
City hall wants to tap private sector to help develop the market, which is located right in the heart of Downtown, City Proper.
So far, only SM Prime Ventures has expressed interest to participate in the bidding. If the contract is awarded to SM Prime Ventures, management of the metropolis’ premier public market will be turned over to the company over a certain period to enable it to recover its investment.
More than 1,000 stall owners will be affected by the proposed development even as Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog has assured the vendors that the redevelopment of the central market will not result to their displacement as long as they are legitimate.
Vendors should trust city hall. No local government unit can afford to betray and ruin the livelihood of its own constituents. City hall officials, on the other hand, should ensure that the stakeholders fully understand the pros and cons of the proposed Central Business District revitalization project.
We hope the words of assurance from Mayor Mabilog will somehow help mollify their fears and confusions.