Monday, January 17, 2005

NR1117: Veep Noli antagonizes Commonwealth vendors

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran
News Release January 17, 2005
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, Chief of Staff
Cellphone number 09213907362

Rep. Beltran scores Vice-President de Castro for leading efforts to sell-off
Commonwealth Market, demolish surrounding urban poor communities

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today echoed the deep disappointment
and frustration of the residents, consumers and vendors in the Commonwealth
Market in Quezon City, saying that Vice-President and housing czar Noli de
Castro is now at the forefront of attacks against urban poor and small
vendors. Today, January 17 marks the sale of the market and the announcement
of who has won the bidding. Over 200 vendors and 60,000 community residents
will be affected by the privatization of the market. Privatization, Beltran
said, will lead to increased stall rents and the demolition of surrounding
urban poor communities. Prices of basic goods being sold in the market will
also be affected.

"The vice-president has now overtaken Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA)
chairman Bayani Fernando in being the scourge of small vendors and urban poor
residents," he said. Beltran explained that the vice-president is now pushing
for the immediate privatization of the Commonwealth market, and that
residents and vendors quote him as irritably saying in a dialogue held in
Payatas last January "Wala kayong magagawa riyan! Hindi nyo ako pwedeng
mapigilan na iprivatize yan, nagpasya na ako!" and "Lugi ang
gobyerno…wala kayong security of tenure!"

Beltran was approached early this morning by groups under the alliance of
vendors, residents and church groups in Commonwealth, among them the
Commonwealth Market Stallholders-Vendors Federation, Alyansa ng Manininda sa
Komonwelt, Commonwealth Multisectoral Council, Mabuting Pastol Credit
Cooperative, The Diocese of Novaliches, Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap,
Parokya ng Kristong Hari, and the Katuparan Multi-Purpose Cooperative.

"The vendors, urban poor residents and consumers groups in Commonwealth and
highly disappointed and disillusioned with Vice-President de Castro. He has
promoted an image of himself as a man of the common masses, but now here he
is at the helm of a program that will render more of our kababayans
destitute," he said. Beltran said that de Castro, and the Housing and Urban
Development Coordinating Council (HUDDC), is also the head of the bidding
committee for the Commonwealth Market. According to documents given by the
residents, de Castro and the other officials such as Secretary of Finance
Amelia Amatong and businessman Gonzalo Bongolan (president the Home Guaranty
Corporation or HGC) accepted bids from businessmen Napoleon Co, Gothong
Commercial Inc., Aycel Construction, 3-A Copr, FMRG Real Estate and Aluminum

"According to the guidelines of t he Commission on Audit (COA), the vendors
should be part of the bidding process, but they have been denied bidding
forms and were not allowed to submit their own offers as a collective,"
Beltran said. #


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