By: Emme Rose Santiagudo
THE Iloilo City government wants to regulate the gates of the controversial Iloilo Terminal Market following reports that it is being used as dens by commercial sex workers.
Task Force on Morals and Values Formation chief Nestor Canong said in an interview on Friday that they are already in talks with the Local Economic Enterprise Office (LEEO) on the possible rehabilitation and regulation of the eight gates of the market popularly known as Super.
“Dapat makay-o, ma-improve ang gates dira and tani sirado na kon gab-i na, alas 10 or 11 dapat closed na. May iban nabilin, nanghimos market stalls pero ang amon istoryahanay i-regulate ina dira,” he said.
While the market operates 24/7, Canong said they are also looking into the possibility of regulating and scheduling the deliveries of goods to the market.
“May schedule sa mga delivery, para mabantayan ang nagasulod kag nagagwa kag mahatagan seguridad and proteksyon ang aton merkado,” he stressed.
Other activities in Super, particularly the operations of the computer shop, will also be regulated, according to Canong.
Aside from regulating the gates, Canong added that the LEEO will also install security cameras and additional lights in dim or dark areas in Super, particularly the lumpia wrapping station, on top of destroying illegal structures in the market.
“Gina-implement na sang LEEO ang amon mga rekomendasyon like pagamat-amat guba sang mga illegal structures, and subong ginaasikaso dugangan sang CCTV sa atubang sang apahan kay dira nagahukmong ang kabataan sa mga madulom nga lugar,” he said.
Also, additional market enforcers, police, and barangay tanods will be deployed to help secure the area.
“Dala sa amon istoryahanay nga dira sila garombo rombo sa computeran ginahimo alibi nga mahampang sila pero may iban sila tuyo, amo na kon pwede untaton ang kompyuteran, depende sa ila istoryahanay or kung pwede until 7 p.m.,” he added.
Canong refused to comment on the claims of vendors that the alleged “sex den” in Super is false and purely based on hearsays.
According to Canong, a thorough investigation on the alleged illegal sexual activities in Super is being conducted by the LEEO.
Instead, he appealed for unity among the public to help them curb the illegal activities in the markets.
“Indi na ko magkomentar, importante nasanagan ang tanan, buliligan ta lang ni nga matapna atong kung ano man nga indi mayo nga gakalatabo sa aton merkado,” he said.
Meanwhile, Canong on Thursday spearheaded a consultative meeting on the parents and minors that were recently rescued in Super last Friday. The minors were roving around the market during late hours.
Out of the 14 rescued minors, only three of them with four guardians attended the meeting.
Canong and a pastor lectured the children and their guardians on family development.
During the consultative meeting, Canong emphasized that it is the responsibility of the parents and guardians to look after their children.
This was also re-echoed by Mayor Jerry Treñas who also visited the stakeholders meeting.
“Dapat amligan ang inyo kabataan, ako inyo kontra kon indi niyo sila pag-amligan, indi pwede nga diri sa siyudad ginapabay-an ang mga kabataan, kamo nagdala sa kalibutan, may obligasyon kamo nga atipanon sila,” he told the guardians.
The mayor was also apologetic on the lapses of the city government particularly on checking illegal activities in the markets.
“Gakasubo ko nga gakalatabo ini sa Terminal Market, ga-apologize ako sa kakulangan sang aton mga city employees kag officials. This is a responsibility mandated upon all city officials nga siguraduhon ang lugar sa siyudad, I am dismayed nga amo ni gakalatabo,” he said.
One of the minors that were rescued, 13-year old Tisoy denied that he was a member of any gang roving around the Terminal Market at night time.
“May ginkuha lang man kami nga bayo, natabu-an nagkadto lang kami to, may ginkuha, wala kami ya gaintra, dira lang gatambay sa sagwa,” he said.
Despite this, he promised that he will not wander inside the market anymore especially during late hours.
“Mabag-o na ko, indi ka na magpadungol and indi na maglagaw, sorry gid sa akon pamilya,” he vowed.