Mayor Abraham Ibba (fourth from left) leads the inauguration and opening in his municipality of the Bataraza Town Center (BTC). The site is where the new Bataraza public market is located. (Photo courtesy of Elmer Sillo Zita)

The Bataraza Market Vendors Association (BMVA) filed a temporary restraining order (TRO) and a writ of Amparo in court against their mayor Abraham Ibba over his alleged failure to provide documents regarding their transfer to the new public market at the town center.

Hadji Omar Ambulo, president of the BMVA, said he twice requested on December 4 and 6 for the documents from Ibba’s office but the mayor allegedly insulted him.

“Nag-request ako ng dalawang beses ng complete na dokumento sa pagpapalipat sa new market kaya lang sa unang request ko parang ininsulto pa ako ni mayor (I requested twice for complete documents regarding the transfer to the new market but on my first request the mayor seemed to have insulted me),” Ambulo said.

Ambulo accused that they were not properly consulted if they want to transfer from the old market site to the newly-constructed building.

But Bataraza municipal administrator Valentino Palasigue denied Ambulo’s accusation, and said there was proper public information regarding the transfer.

“Hindi raw nagkaroon ng public hearing, hindi naman ganoon dahil ordinance ‘yon. Prior to the final adaption of the ordinance nagkaroon pa ng public hearing. Tinignan namin ang mga attendance ng mga dumalo, meron din syang attendance doon. Nagkaroon ng meeting uli sa munisipyo, pinatawag lahat,” he said.

(He claimed there was no public hearing, but it’s not like that because it’s an ordinance. Prior to the final adaption of the ordinance, we had a public hearing. We checked the attendance of those who attended, and he has an attendance there. There was another meeting in the municipal building, and everyone was called to attend.)

Palasigue also denied that Ibba insulted or threatened Ambulo.

Ambulo said aside from the court, he also filed a complaint to the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) last December.

On Monday, the Bataraza Town Center (BTC) opened the new public market where seven occupants of dry goods already transferred.

The number, however, failed to meet the municipal government’s target of convincing an estimated 102 vendors and market stall owners.

Rhea Agustin, the municipal press relations assistant of Bataraza, said they are still encouraging other occupants of the old market to transfer to the new site.

“Yon pa lang new market ang pormal na binuksan. Inaanyayahan na ang mga stall owners natin na mag-start na sila. Pwede na sila magtinda doon. Marami na rin nag-open doon though di pa talaga lahat (Only the new market was formally opened. We are inviting all stall owners to start. They can already transfer. A lot has opened althout,” Agustin said.

There are 102 occupants from the old public market who are expected to transfer to the BTC.

Stall owners can avail of the six-month no rental fee offered by the municipal government for the months of January to June, this year.

The terminal for tricycle drivers has also transferred to the BTC area.

Ambulo said he will only move to the new public market building if he received and sees the legal documents containing the order to transfer.

“Ako lilipat ako kung may mga legal na dokumento na ‘yon ang nagsasabi na kailangan lumipat (I will transfer if there are legal documents that will tell me that I need to move there),” he pointed out.

Agustin said fast food giant Jollibee and Caltex have committed to put their businesses in the town center.

She also said Bataraza is optimistic that the two-storey facility will spur economic development in the town.

The building is now 80 percent complete, she said.

The new facility also has a municipal function hall at the ground floor that can accommodate 1,000 individuals.

“Isang milestone ito para sa amin, sa bayan ng Bataraza. Alam ng mga tao, pumayag sila, nakita nila, nagustuhan nila. Talagang nakita nila sa opening, sinasabi nga namin na ito na talaga, wala nang magagawa, hakbang na ito sa pagbabago ng Bataraza (This is a milestone for all of us in the town of Bataraza. The people know, they agreed, they saw, and they liked it. They saw during the opening, and we are, in fact, saying there’s nothing that can be done anymore, this is already the step towards the development of Bataraza),” Agustin said.

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is one of the senior reporters of Palawan News. She covers agriculture, business, and different feature stories. Her interests are collecting empty bottles, aesthetic earrings, and anything that is color yellow.