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Carbon Market

I am aghast at the notion that opposing the privatization of the Carbon Market should only be the concern of a few vendors. Are you Cebuanos? Through the decades, Carbon is the biggest market for both rich and poor Cebuanos.

We know that poor Cebuanos buy and sell in Carbon Market. Aside from those with stalls, there are thousands of ambulant vendors. Count the thousands of cargadores. Then how about the suppliers of vegetables, poultry, meat, and fish.

However, defenders of the Megawide privatization would insist the vendors are already millionaires to demonize them as not worthy of popular sympathy. (Only the super billionaires of Megawide and those who enjoy the benefits of helping them?)

Aside from poor consumers who cannot afford the prices of malls and even the neighborhood satellite grocery stores, both rich and poor entrepreneurs buy their supplies cheaply from the Carbon Market. Even owners with SUVs of flower shops, meat shops, barbecue stalls, lechon manok and liempo stalls, bakeries, eateries, and other startups buy their stocks from Carbon.

Perhaps, critical pundits who are istambays of plush coffee shops in Rustans and other malls should spend time observing the Carbon Market more closely. I have. This should save you from the absurd claim that groups from Pasil and Mambaling, including party list groups like Sanlakas and Akbayan, have no business filing a case against the Megawide privatization.

The case filed against the so-called joint venture hammered by the brilliant lawyers of Cebu City Mayor Edgar Labella and Megawide enumerated several flaws. Allow me to cite just two:

·       Cebu City Hall does not own the entire land it agreed to privatize in its so-called joint venture with the Megawide Construction Corporation. Huge portions are claimed by the Cebu Port Authority (CPA) and the Slum Improvement and Resettlement (SIR) project in Bato, Barangay Ermita. The brilliant lawyers and the approving councilors even failed to consult Google.

·       Atty. Edmund Lao, the lead lawyer of Carbon Alliance, pointed out that the agreement referred to as a joint venture had the salient details of a “Build, Operate, Transfer” project. A joint venture only needs an ordinance by the Cebu City Council. BOT projects had to be approved by NEDA and the Office of the President. But can the supportive councilors even present a validly approved ordinance?

(Emmanuel Mongaya, co-founder and director for strategic communications of PRWorks Inc., is also a member of the Political Officers League of the Philippines or POLPhil. DM me at @anol_cebu)