SAN JOSE, Antique, Jan. 9 (PNA) -– Sibalom Mayor Joel Occeña has only the best interest of the people in his town in mind when he decided to secure a loan of P30 million to construct a new wet market last year and within two months of operation, he is already seeing the fruits of his latest project.
“Sibalom used to have the biggest public market in the province of Antique. People from other towns come to Sibalom during market days. Transient merchandisers from other places and from as far as Miag-ao and San Joaquin towns in the province of Iloilo also come here to sell their goods. We also have the biggest livestock market not only in Antique but also in the whole island of Panay. These, however, slowly waned as years went by because of failure of former leaders to maintain and upkeep our public market and Sibalom was overtaken by other towns like San Jose and Hamtic. Now we are back on track and we are up to regain that prestige,” Mayor Occeña said.
The new wet market was inaugurated in November last year and is presently teeming with merchandise and business is brisk until late in the afternoon or early evening.
“We have far exceeded revenue collections in the past two (2) months and we are doing our best to maintain it just as we are doing our best to attain our goal of being known as the cleanest, most honest and smoke free public market in the province of Antique if not in the whole Western Visayas region,” Mayor Occeña said.
“We already have an organization of vendors and what we did was hold dialogues with them. We told them of our plans, our programs and how we could best attain our goals and I am happy that the vendors responded to our call of cooperation and unity. We emphasized to them the need to cooperate with each other so we would have a peaceful and fruitful partnership,” Mayor Occeña stressed.
The new wet market has a total of 267 stalls including 19 perimeter stalls composed of 56 stalls in fish section, 24 stalls in the vegetable section, 24 in the meat section, 16 processed food, frozen and dressed chicken section and 128 stalls for checheria section.
“There were more than 300 stall applicants, all of them residents of Sibalom and two (2) stall owners who are fish dealers and old time stall holders in our old wet market that we decided to give priorities to the original stall holders,” Mayor Occeña said.
In the first month of operation, revenue collection went up by 140 percent with a total of P646,880.50 as against November’s target collection of P465,000. For December, the target was P512,000 and as of the fourth week of December, collection on stall rental, market entrance fees of goods, livestock entrance, slaughtering fees and others already surpassed P500,000.00.
“Because of the long holidays, our staff have yet to finish our reports and we hope to submit to the Office of the Mayor our report for December”, said Rodel Esler, Officer-in-Charge of the Municipal Economic Enterprise and Development Office (MEEDO).
Esler said that to further increase revenue collection and to accommodate more stall applicants, they plan to put up stalls in the middle of the building with an area of about 120 square meters initially intended for activities.
“Admittedly, we are still in the observation stage and we are soliciting advices and observations from the stall holders as to how we could further improve our operation. My office welcomes all visitors, especially those who may have complaints on shortchanging or undesirable attitudes of vendors. So far, so good,” Esler said.
To keep the new wet market clean, the MEEDO hired three (3) cleaners for the Wet Market and six (6) cleaners for the rest of the Public Market.
“We also added another market day so we now have Tuesday and Saturday as market days to give more opportunities to the vendors and the residents of Sibalom. Actually, it’s already like everyday is market day in Sibalom,” Esler said. (PNA)