GenSan mulls closing down public market

GENERAL SANTOS, Philippines – Mayor Ronnel Rivera said General Santos City in South Cotabato is considering relocating its aging central public market to a bigger location in Barangay Labangal, some 3 kilometers away from its present site.

“We are making a study and there is a proposal to build a bigger and modern public market,” Rivera said.

The mayor earlier revealed that a budget had been allocated for the repair of the dilapidated roofs of the current public market situated at the heart of the city in Barangay South.

Stall owners have been complaining of worn-out roofs and overcrowding at the public market.

The public market was built during the term of Mayor Jorge Royeca, who transferred it from Silway, when General Santos was still a municipality.

The central public market was twice gutted down by fire in the 1970s and was last rebuilt under the administration of Mayor Antonio Acharon.

The market sits on a 2.2-hectare prime property at the southern end of Santiago Street in the central business district of the city. 

It could command up to P500 million if the city decides to sell or offer it as equity and develop the area into a mixed-used commercial center.

City hall earlier said the development of the public market is one of the 5 priority projects of the Rivera administration.

It is inviting investors under the PPP (private-public partnership) scheme to “redevelop” the current site into a P200-million modern market complex.

But a city hall source also said a Cebu-based company offered in 2014 to transform the current public market site into a commercial center under a build-operate-transfer scheme.

Under the plan of the said company, the current public market will be relocated to another site outside the city central business district.

Nothing, however, has been heard of it since until Rivera said on Tuesday, April 28, that a proposal to transfer the public market in Labangal is being considered.

The streets around the public market is scene to traffic congestion as all public transport – with the exception of buses – passes through the area.

The city fish landing and abattoir used to be located adjacent to the public market. These have been relocated to Tambler and San Isidro villages, respectively.

Despite the proposed plan to transfer the public market, Rivera said the repair will continue as planned.

“Medyo dugay lang gyud ang proseso pero naa na budget for it.  Naa na program of works,” Rivera said. (The process just takes longer but the budget is already there.  There is already a program of works.)

He also said it will probably take years to relocate the market to a new site. – Rappler.com