P15 million eyed for trading post upgrade

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LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The municipal government is working on the release of the P15 million remaining balance from the agriculture department to complete the rehabilitation and upgrading of the vegetable trading post to make it a conducive commercial center right in the heart of the town.

Mayor Romeo K. Salda is making representations with DA-CAR officials on how to facilitate the immediate release of the remaining balance from the P30 million earlier committed by the department to improve the state of the vegetable trading post.

“We are currently preparing for the implementation of the remaining phase of the project but we want to make sure that the committed funds for the project is available to us before we start working on the continuation of the noble project,” Mayor Salda stressed.

Earlier, the DA leadership that traces back to the previous administration committed some P30 million to be used by the local government for the rehabilitation, upgrading and improvement of the vegetable trading post.

However, only a total of P15 million was released which was used for the initial phase of the project that has been completed, thus, the remaining balance is being awaited to complete the desired improvement of the vegetable trading facility.

Based on the previous inventory of the DA-CAR and the local government on the number of stallholders affected by the upcoming improvement of the facility, there are more or less 70 stallholders who will be displaced and will be transferred to a conducive area and will reportedly be the priority once the rehabilitation of the trading post is completed by next year.

He underscored the vegetable trading post , which is over three decades old, needs to a facelift and the municipal government is lucky to get the required financial assistance from the DA, thus, the project must be implemented the soonest for it to benefit the province’s lucrative vegetable industry.

Salda appealed to those who will be initially displaced once the rehabilitation project will start to understand the need to introduce improvements in the trading post because it will be the vegetable traders and the public that will reap the fruits of an improved facility catering to the growing demand of vegetable purchasers from the different parts of the lowland.

According to him, the upgrading of the old vegetable trading post has been one of the major programs he identified to be prioritized once he will be given a fresh mandate by the people of the town for the second term as local chief executive.

The La Trinidad vegetable trading post that serves as one of the premier trading facilities for highland vegetables was built by the local government with the assistance of the United States (US) embassy in the mid-1980s through the efforts of previous municipal officials to provide farmers and traders with a facility conducive for trading and marketing of agricultural crops produced not only in Benguet but also from other parts of the Cordillera.

Benguet and some parts of Ifugao and Mountain Province remain as the source of 80 percent of semi-temperate vegetables being distributed in the different parts of the country over the past several decades. By HENT