Rehab of ‘drug-infested’ Libertad annex building sought

Rehab of ‘drug-infested’ Libertad annex building sought

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Rehab of ‘drug-infested’ Libertad annex building sought

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Libertad Market Annex building on Amelia Avenue, Bacolod City has become a venue for drug-related activities after vendors stopped occupying the structure for several years now. (Erwin P. Nicavera)

THE head of Libertad Public Market in Bacolod City has reiterated the recommendation to rehabilitate the Annex Building on Amelia Avenue to accommodate vendors after drug pushers were arrested inside the structure last weekend.

Jonah Abao, market officer-in-charge, said Tuesday, May 23, that they have recommended to the Local Market Committee to ask for a clearance from the Commission on Audit to open and rehabilitate the building situated in Barangay 40.

The committee is headed by City Administrator John Orola with City Legal Officer Joselito Bayatan, Councilor Bartolome Orola, and a representative of the vendors as members.

Abao said about 80 percent of the stalls have been abandoned by the occupants and the structure should be opened to accommodate the transient vendors selling on the streets.

Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran had earlier said that concerned officials should inspect the structure to stop the drug-related activities in the area.

On Saturday, 13 persons were arrested in a drug bust operation conducted by personnel of Police Station 6 at Annex Building.

Abao said they disallowed teenagers from hanging out in the area, but after office hours, they return and engage in illegal activities.

The teenagers are not family members of the stall owners, he added.

Abao said most of the stall owners abandoned the Annex Building because it is not accessible to the public and they had difficulty selling their products in the upper floor. The structure has not been occupied by vendors for almost 10 years.

Initially, the stalls were awarded to 120 vendors and only 15 percent are paying the rent.

“If the city will open the stalls, we can accommodate the transient vendors at Libertad and they will pay in ‘alcabala’ system,” Abao added.

He said this will be additional revenue to the city, and if the transient vendors will move to the Annex Building, traffic congestion will also be eased.

They are also waiting for the decision of Mayor Evelio Leonardia on how to utilize the Annex Building, he added.

Published in the SunStar Bacolod newspaper on May 24, 2017.

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