Ermita measure struck down
THE Cebu City Council has disapproved the newlypassed ordinance of Barangay Ermita imposing a mandatory P10 per square meter “monitoring fee” on vendor stalls at the Carbon Public Market.
According to the committee on laws and the Cebu City legal office, the ordinance was “ultra vires” or beyond the legal power or authority of the barangay to enact.
In a committee report, approvedby theCity Council last week, the committee on laws pointed to City Ordinance No. 1486 or the Revised Market Code of Cebu City, which says that the city treasurer shall exercise administration and control over the collection of all market fees in the city.
The Revised Market Code of Cebu City considers the side of streets and/or sidewalks outside city-owned public markets as part of market premises, and puts temporary ambulant vendors under the Cebu City Market Authority.
Last August 15, Barangay Ermita passed Barangay Ordinance No. 045-2017 mandating a “vendor’s operation monitoring fee” to sustain and augment on-duty barangay personnel which are needed by the village.
Ermita officials said that the fee was necessary to sustain 24-hour, on-duty personnel to ensure the market’s cleanliness, health and sanitation, orderliness, security, safety, and peace order, among others.
The committee on laws’ report was based on the legal opinion of City Hall lawyer Bernard Inocentes Garcia, as approved by City Legal Officer Joseph Bernaldez.
In an eight-page opinion, the City Legal Office said that Ermita’s ordinance was beyond the scope of the taxing powers of the barangay.
Although barangays have the power to impose
taxes, the Local Government Code states that it is only for properties or areas that are under their jurisdiction, the legal opinion read.
“(It is also) unfair and or oppressive as it collects fees from marginal farmers or fishermen in violation of the Code,” it added.
The opinion also stated that all city-owned markets are under the scope of the City Treasurer’s Office including the immediate vicinity of these markets.
The Carbon Public Market, which is located in Barangay Ermita, is owned and managed by the Cebu City government.
Councilors Jocelyn Pesquera and Jose “Joey” Daluz III, both lawyers, aired their support for Barangay Ermita during the Council deliberations.
Pesquera said the barangay can impose a monitoring fee similar to the regulatory fees being collected by City Hall.
For his part, Daluz said that the Carbon Public Market is already “chaotic” and needs the assistance of the barangay.
But the imposition of a P10-per square meter monitoring fee should be reviewed, said Daluz, to possibly make it just a one-time fee.
Laws Committee chairperson, Councilor Sisinio Andales, however, stood pat that the imposition of fees by a barangay can only be done on barangay markets and not on markets owned by the city.
For Councilor Margarita Osmeña, ensuring peace and order and maintaining cleanliness in the barangay should already form part of the duties and responsibilities of existing barangay personnel like tanods and garbage loaders.