How long is temporary?
posted 8-Jul-2018  ·  
1,246 views  ·   0 comments  ·  

      A streamer bearing this question posed by frustrated occupants of the Virac public market used to hang above their temporary stalls built on the road beside the market, before the cloth was torn to shreds by typhoon Nina in 2016.

     The query deserves to be seen once again, most preferably on the façade of the municipal hall where it could be read every day by local officials led by Mayor Samuel Laynes, Vice Mayor Arlynn Arcilla and the members of the Sangguniang Bayan, and the department heads.

     It has been exactly two years now since majority of the capital town’s leaders were elected partly on their vow to reinstall the displaced market vendors who were told by former Mayor Flerida Alberto to vacate the two-storey market building for safety reasons. During her term, the ex-mayor had purchase for some P28 million a three-hectare lot at the back of the provincial hospital purportedly to be used as site for the new market building.

     Boisterous opposition to the proposal, as well as the unfulfilled promise of a P200 million kitty from Malacañang for the new market, has now effectively scuttled the relocated market site, now being proposed by the Laynes administration as a community hub to house government agencies. Already, the Department of Justice has taken advantage of the LGU’s office and is now building a two-storey edifice for the Provincial Prosecution Office.

     With funding already assured by the P335-million credit facility from the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), there is no reason for the mayor and his team to delay procurement proceedings for the market rehabilitation and retrofitting.

     Already, an expectant public, including the market vendors, are awaiting the local government’s next move, with some even asking why only P60 million has been allocated for the market.

     According to those knowledgeable in such matters, the public bidding for the market project can be started even ahead of the release of the loan. However, according to sources, the LGU has yet to be officially given the plans, specifications and program of work by the consultant hired for the purpose.

     Just like in the run-up to the 2016 elections, the project will surely figure prominently in the political landscape beginning this October 2018 with the filing of the certificates of candidacy.

     Mayor Laynes, Vice Mayor Arcilla and the municipal council need not be reminded that whatever moves they make in the next month regarding the market project would be crucial for their respective campaigns.

     That Alberto loyalists within the Laynes administration would join hands with the ex-mayor’s partymates in the Sangguniang Bayan to scuttle the development projects is a possibility.

     But that scenario would put the chief executive’s leadership to the test. After all, he is the mayor and he has all the powers granted him under the Local Government Code of 1991 to make his subordinate officials do his bidding.

     The clock is ticking, there is no more time to waste, and no reason for further delay.
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