80 stalls hit after rain flows into Carbon interim market

SOME vendors who recently transferred to the newly opened interim market at the Carbon Public Market scrambled to save their products after a downpour on Wednesday evening, Aug. 3, 2022, caused rainwater to flow inside the facility.Around 80 stalls were affected by what the vendors called a “structural defect” in the interim market, said Erwin Gok-ong, president of the Cebu Market Vendors Multipurpose Cooperative.However, the management of Cebu2World Development Inc. (C2W) said there was no structural defect and that the problem had been fixed.Gok-ong told SunStar Cebu Thursday, that the building is not equipped with appropriate-sized gutters that can guide the flow of rainwater away from the stalls.The vendors had to personally install awnings or overhangs to protect their products from weather hazards, he added.In a video posted by Gok-ong on Facebook Wednesday, several market vendors were seen rushing to save their products when rainwater started to flow toward their area.Gok-ong said around 30 sacks of rice got soaked because of the incident. The rice could still be saved, but it would require more costs for the vendors and the quality would diminish.C2W management said it is investigating the leak and will conduct the necessary works to prevent the incident from happening again.C2W, a subsidiary of Megawide Construction Corp., is undertaking Carbon market’s redevelopment in a joint venture with the Cebu City Government for 50 years.Lydwena Eco, C2W deputy general manager, said the leak is not a structural defect in the building and that these are just usual issues in any structure that can immediately be addressed.“The team was able to fix it immediately. We have also conducted a thorough investigation of the market extension area to ensure that this problem is not repeated,” said Eco.Eco added that they immediately checked the affected vendors, together with Cebu City’s market operations division, but there was no mention of affected rice products.In March 2022, vendors from Warwick Barracks and Freedom Park in the century-old Carbon Public Market began their transfer to the interim market located at Unit 2 on M.L. Quezon Boulevard as clearing operations were done in their old locations to give way to the construction of the modern market.The move did not initially gain full support from the vendors as some groups opposed the alleged “privatization” of the public market.Gok-ong’s organization was one of the groups that opposed the clearing operations, but they later also transferred to the interim market after City Market Administrator Wendell Cenas issued a final notice to Freedom Park vendors to transfer to the interim market by July 18.As of July 30, some 450 of the 744 market vendors who had been cleared from Freedom Park and Warwick had begun selling at the interim market, while other vendors had already moved their things to their stalls but had not started operating yet.Last July 31, the Cebu City Government received its first annual guaranteed payment worth P50 million from Megawide.