Business groups back PPP for public markets

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas (left) with SM Prime President Jeffrey Lim and SM super mall President Steven Tan during the awarding of the 25-year lease agreement to SM Prime Holdings for the development of the Central Public Market and the Super Public Market.

The redevelopment of Iloilo City’s Central and Super Public Markets will benefit its vendors, and also further improve the business activities in the peripheral areas of the market, according to Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry-Iloilo Chapter (PCCI)-Iloilo in its letter of support for the project.

“These projects will increase employment through new business created in the area,” it stated.

PCCI-Iloilo said in a resolution that when the two public markets are restored and developed, these will become “more attractive, more comfortable, safer, cleaner and more organized.”

The Iloilo Economic Development Foundation, Inc. (ILEDF) also affirmed that the project will be key to addressing health concerns and improving access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

In a statement issued August 4, Chairperson Engr. Terence Uygongco also added: “The project will upgrade essential economic locations to further cement Iloilo City as one of the country’s premier investment destinations.”

Meanwhile, the Iloilo MICE Alliance (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events), led by Chairperson Natalie U. Lim, hailed the modernization of the two public markets as a “significant economic development project.”

Lim said that the project will address the farm-to-market gaps experienced by Iloilo producers. These projects, she said, would make Iloilo products more accessible and more available. “Addressing this gap will enable Iloilo City to achieve its aim as one of the country’s leading investment and MICE destinations,” she added.

POPA Agricultural Cooperative, for its part, lauded the PPP as an endeavor that will directly benefit Ilonggos.

“The ripple effect of the benefits that will be generated by this project will be felt in the entire Region 5 soon after it is operational,” POPA Chairman Johnny Que said.

Further, MORE Electric and Power Corporation strengthened the private sector’s support of the modernization of the public markets, calling it a catalyst towards the city’s progress.

“This redevelopment program through a private-public partnership (PPP) engagement is an affirmation of how the private sector has become an active partner of the government in fulfilling the city’s development goals,” it said in a statement issued August 5.

“As your partner in power, we look forward to the transformation of the public markets into spacious, safe, clean, and sustainable multi-use market complex, where Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs), small vendors, and even national brands could thrive,” the statement said. “Indeed, to level up Iloilo is to spread progress to each Ilonggo.”

These business groups in Iloilo City threw their full support behind the modernization of the Super Public Market and the Central Public Market, citing it as an opportunity for the vendors’ profit growth, increased tourism gains, business opportunities in peripheral areas and job generation.

The local government of Iloilo City recently awarded a 25-year lease agreement to SM Prime Holdings for the development of the Central Public Market and the Super Public Market. Under the agreement, the two markets will be developed at no cost to the City Government and will be retained as public markets and managed by the City Hall through the Local Economic Enterprise Office (LEEO).

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