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PIA Press Release

Market transformation sets tone for million opportunities

Catigbian, Bohol (13 October) -- Behind the new face-lifted and painted façade of the Catigbian Public market still hides old stalls, but since the physical change, the market has generally poured to the town the big bulk in its money-bags.

And that is not even the reason why the town almost beat Bohol’s multi-million modern public markets. Just .6 points short to even its tally with Pamilihang Bayan winner Ubay, Catigbianons have said the economic bounty their market has brought them is a thing no other publicly run market could equal.

The recent award, given as a component of the Bantay Bilihin Program, came after a nationwide search of public and private market places complying with fair trade laws including price tags and other regulations on weights and measures, safety and quality standards.

In a Bantay Bilihin Program, as implemented with the Department of Trade and Industry, strategically placed Catigbian market was assessed according to its price and supply stabilization, Consumer assistance, consumer information and advocacy as well as self-policing projects.

Painting the town green

At the helm of the massive image change is retired navy captain into charting a new vovage into the sea of green, an apt reference to Catigbian’s expansive rice fields, the main showcase for an agricultural town that needs to shake off its tag as an outback.

Keeping cognizance of its strategic location and suitability for an agri-economy, Salinas, aided by Vice Mayor Fortunato Concon drew a plan for re-greening the town, a program that should be less costly knowing their fiscal incapacity to bet big.

For the town market, their most conspicuous sleeping asset, they decided to stretch its potential as revenue generator to ignite their collective dreams.

With barely enough funds to finance a new building to substantially transform the image of the town as the emerging trade and commerce center in the heart of agricultural towns, the local officials raised the market’s ante with a minimum facelift, a move that would effect a new image.

“A substantial change in image needs to be complemented with a physical change of sorts,” said Mayor Roberto Salinas, when asked about the logic over spending hard-earned cash for a building that would otherwise be just fine for traders in a town about.

And for municipal officials dreaming of economic emancipation for the town, the facelift was a compromise for a cash-strapped local government aiming to bleed its little cash to zap life into its otherwise sleeping asset. And the decision was to paint the market green.

The market facelift here possibly pale in comparison to the multi-million imposing structures rising as modern town markets, but after the investment, officials now see that it never was a misplaced decision.

“The physical transformation has set the tone for its transformation,” says Sangguniang Bayan secretary Ardissa Estavilla.

To be the rudder guiding the less conspicuous transformation of the market working is Assistant Municipal Treasurer Cresilda C. Rulida.

Mayor Salinas has appointed her as market administrator, to lend a physical presence to the crucial role of market operations made cumbersome by hard processes, Estavilla, who also doubles as the town information officer shared.

Uniformed collectors

Complementing the change in physical appearance to the market that has since seeped into its interior stalls, the town officials again decided to issue standard uniforms to market collectors.

“Its always civil for uniformed municipal market collectors to go to stalls and tax makeshift stall peddlers, which lends them with the authority they represent,” Administrator Rulida commented.

Then, when market collectors make the rounds during market days, a lot could escape the collectors or beg for the lower tariff rates, but the recent codified market stalls have also helped identify sellers and their wares, added a market collector who asked not to be identified.

“You would dignify a person by treating him like one, and the uniformed collectors at least in shoes should emanate the kind of respect peddlers also expect from market personnel, a spice peddler shared.

From the physical changes in September of 2004, the revenues from the market raised.

Data from the municipal treasurer showed that in 2004, the marker poured into the town coffers some P895T. This was even upped to P1.47M the following year.

This early, the town has registered P1.38M, three months short of the full accounting for calendar year 2006 operations.

Pamilihang Bayan criteria

Catigbian was rated by Members of the Provincial Screening Team composed of representatives from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Provincial Agriculture Office (PAO), Philippine Information Agency (PIA), Tagbilaran Association of Concerned Consumers, Inc. (TACCO) and the Department of Trade and Industry.

At the recent province-wide screening of public markets conducted last August-September, Catigbian was rated according to its presence of market administrator, price tags, strategically placed timbangan ng bayan, a functional consumer welfare desk and its over-all cleanliness of its market surroundings.

Finally, it was also rated with the presence of a vendor’s association, a crucial group that keeps a tight leash on possible overpricing, hoarding and other acts that could sabotage the stream flow of trade and commerce in a locality.

When the criteria was entered with data, Catigbian capped a general 90.0 points to win second in the provincewide search for best markets.

Once again, Catigbian has firmly emphasized that the modern and multi-million building for markets do not necessarily make one rich. Moreover, the Catigbian experience tells that it should be putting innovations that are otherwise what the general consumers would want in their visit to the market after a tiring day at work.

While winning the Pamilihan accolade, the economic benefits the town gathered to raise its fiscal power surely made the award. (PIA) [top]

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