The Cebu Community First Insance Cooperative (Cebu CFI Cooperative) is willing to spend P3.5 billion to modernize and preserve Cebu City’s oldest and largest public market in a planned public-private partnership to provide a cleaner and more comfortable space for buying and selling of goods.
If its proposal is approved, upland farmers and fisherfolks will be able to do away with middlemen, and increase their profits while selling inside a modern Carbon Market facility.
“We will provide funding component sa mga market vendors, at the same time, the market cooperatives so that they’ll be able to buy directly goods from the farmer cooperatives, cutting off the traders,” said CFI Chairman of the Board Atty. Winston Garcia.
“So mas dako ilang ginansya ug mas dagko ang kita sa farmer cooperative kay amo man i-bridge through our funding scheme ang ilang market cooperatives with the farmer cooperative,” he added.
The proposed redevelopment project will be through a built-transfer-operate scheme with a 20-year profit sharing arrangement.
“We believe man gud with a professional management, dili kaayo politicized ang management sa Carbon market, mas maayo ang pagpadagan. So, we’re proposing a 20-year operation of the market,” he said.
More than the modernization of the 27,112-square meter underutilized and dilapidated market, Garcia said they aim to preserve its integral history particularly the Cebu Freedom Park.
The project involves a five-phase construction period that starts with the temporary relocation of the tenants.
CFI will build a temporary relocation facility in Freedom Park and Warwick Barracks, a 5,056 sqm lot that serves as parking space with a few vendors.
Once relocation is done, construction of the market and transportation hub will then start.
The third phase of the project will focus on the redevelopment of the Freedom Park so people can freely enjoy the public green space it offers.
Construction is targeted in two years depending on the go-signal and approval of the Cebu City Government.
“And we will have to work directly with the market vendors in order to be able to meet their needs,” Architect Maria Rebecca Plaza said.
In the fourth phase of the project, CFI, in partnership with Manila-based contractor and developer CavDeal, will build the social housing component where about 750 informal settlers in the adjoining areas and perimeter of the market will be accommodated.
“I think we have to answer them rather than dispossess them. These are the existing informal settlers that we want to provide socialized, affordable housing for them,” Garcia said.
The socialized housing will have a total of 875 apartments to accommodate not only the informal settlers but also transients.
Plaza added that during the fourth phase, they will also transform a dirty swamp into a seaside park.
“We are now creating a 1.25 hectares of green space into the heart of Cebu and this is truly the best opportunity to give back public space to the people,” she said.
The modern public market will have 3,000 permanent stalls and a considerable space for ambulant vendors.
It will utilize locally sourced and crafted materials to ensure Cebu’s heritage and history.
“Please note that we have been very sensitive to working with local materials. We are creating a well-ventilated building with locally sourced sustainable materials in architecture that pays homage to the past,” Plaza said.
“So not only will the market vendors benefit but so will the craftsmen many of whom have lost their jobs and this will be able to really jumpstart the economy post-Covid,” she added.
The architect also assured that Covid-19 and the new normal it brought has been taken into consideration in the project, ensuring that the market will be well-ventilated to avoid the spread of the coronavirus.
“This construction will really employ a lot of Cebuanos. Dili lang na, it will also improve more than 1,000 market vendors kay we will give them better stalls, better business environment, na bisag ang mga tawo ganahan moadto og Rustans kay ganahan mangompra, adto na mangompra sa Carbon market tungod kay ato nang nindoton ang Carbon market,” Garcia said.
He shared that the Landbank of the Philippines has already committed to provide financial support to CFI for the funding requirement of the Carbon Market Project in a certification issued on October 15.
“More than anything we really want to emphasize that this market is really to improve people’s livelihoods. We can build it for tourists, we can build it for anybody but at the end of the day, the people who are really affected are the market vendors themselves,” Plaza said.
CFI is a Cebu-based cooperative with 150,000 members scattered all over the country. It started as a cooperative of court workers of the Court of First Instance of Cebu (CFI) where it got its name. It was established in April 1970 by the late Judge Esperanza Garcia. (Vanessa L. Almeda)