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BAGUIO CITY – The city government disclosed it has no plans of suspending the ongoing operation of the night market along the 500-meter stretch of Harrison Road, one of the major roads within the city’s central business district, even with the 2019 Novel Corona Virus (nCoV) scare that compelled the city to postpone the conduct of major crowd drawing events in the city in the coming weeks.
Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong said that suspending the operation of the night market will also be tantamount to closing the city’s public market and other establishments around the city when the situation is still under the control of the concerned government agencies and health authorities.
Earlier, the city government decided to suspend the conduct of the grand opening parade of the 25th edition of the Panagbenga, the Cordillera Administrative Region Athletic Association (CARAA) regional sports competition and other upcoming crowd drawing events in the city in the next 3 weeks following the nCoV scare in the different parts of the world and the emergence of three confirmed nCoV cases in the country over the past several days.
The City Chief Executive pointed out the city government needs to establish a sense of normalcy in the ongoing activities in the city so as not to create panic among the people which could eventually worsen the situation instead of putting things in order.
More than 1,000 vendors are actively putting up their stalls along the stretch of the night market area every night for the night market operation that starts from 9 PM up to the wee hours of the morning the following day.
The night market operation is now on its 14th year following the city government’s aggressive campaign to rid the city’s major streets and parks of ambulant vendors that serve as an eye sore and obstructs pedestrian traffic.
Even the Baguio-Boracay Re-development Task Force that was created during the term of former President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino recommended the clearing of major roads and public parks in the city from the presence of sidewalk vendors and this resulted to the strengthening of the night market operation which now serves as a major tourist attraction in the city and providing livelihood to numerous vendors and the members of their families.
However, the city government is still searching for a permanent site for the night market after the city received a notice from the public works department that Harrison Road should be free from the obstruction created by the existence of the night vendors doing business in the said area.
Among the areas being eyed as the possible relocation site of the night market operation include the Baguio Athletic Bowl concrete pavement, the whole stretch of the Burnham Lake Drive, the existing pay parking area at the old site of the city auditorium, the Ganza parking area and the perimeter of the Melvin Jones grandstand.
The night market operation grew as one of the prime tourist attractions in the city because of the popularity of goods, particularly second hand items, sold by vendors.
By Dexter A. See