Carvajal: A life of its own

·2 min read

A case can certainly be made of the possibility, nay probability, that politicians and leftists are using the Carbon (market) privatization issue to promote their own and not necessarily the vendors’ agenda.

Unfinished buildings are concrete evidence (pun intended) that City Hall has failed to develop Carbon, clean it up and put order into its operations. Perhaps to correct this in grand manner, it signed a joint venture agreement (JVA) for a private company not only to develop but also to manage Carbon.

City Hall, however, made the unfortunate mistake of signing a JVA without in any way consulting Carbon vendors. Thus trouble erupted when the latter got hold of a copy of the JVA and discovered provisions that threatened the viability of their small businesses.

Like Carbon will be downsized as a portion of it will be converted into a commercial hub. To make up for the reduced space, a third floor is included. But who wants to sell on the third floor? No buyers take the trouble to go there.

Another ploy is to require vendors to display their wares in shifts. But this will definitely reduce sales. And where will the previous shift’s vendor stash away his/her merchandise when the next shift takes over?

All this and more is election propaganda material no politician can resist using to discredit rivals and get vendors’ and sympathizers’ votes. All this also provides extreme leftists with a most welcome opportunity to do agitation-propaganda work among vendors and inure them to the communist party’s long-term program of creating a revolutionary situation.

Nevertheless, these groups’ intervention takes nothing away from the truth that vendors have been exclusively against the privatization and not the modernization of Carbon. Time and again, they have admitted to the need of developing Carbon into a cleaner and more orderly market facility. After all, in their own words, “Kami ang adlaw-adlaw ug sa tibuok adlaw nag-antus sa kahugaw ug kapit-os sa Carbon.”

Carbon vendors actually proposed, in writing, that the City spend for a less costly development of Carbon. World-class is over-the-top expensive and inappropriate for a public market. They also proposed that the City and a federation of vendor associations or cooperatives jointly manage the new Carbon.

The City brushed this proposal aside. Lately, however, councilors have started to listen. In one regular session, they even committed to a written guarantee that all vendors will be accommodated in the new Carbon. One big thorn was removed from the vendors’ sides.

To blame the Carbon issue on the third party agency is intellectual laziness at best, dishonesty at worst. City Hall, not politicians or leftists, erred and gave birth to the issue. Its pros and cons must, therefore, be validated not by external but by internal factors. The Carbon issue, after all, has a life of its own.

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