The Iligan Public Market is operated by the LGU of Iligan as one of its economic enterprise. Although it was meant to be self-sustaining, if not revenue-generating, it is actually incurring losses on a continuing basis. The current practice of the LGU does not engender a clear appreciation of the true cost of the local economic enterprise. The operation of the Public Market was not treated as special accounts in the General Fund contrary to the provisions of the Local Government Code (LGC) of 1991. Revenue Generated from the operations goes to the General Fund and is usually appropriated to other budget items. Only a portion of the amount goes back to the operation of the Public Market. The amount usually covers for the salaries and wages of the personnel only. And a minimal amount is set aside for minor repairs. Appropriation for capital outlay to improve the facilities is almost non-existent.
Aside from the budgetary allocation issue, the operation of the Public Market is hampered by political accommodation. There are very few permanent employees and a large number of casuals are hired usually supporters of whoever is the incumbent mayor. Personnel charged to the public market is way above what is required and in some cases their qualification do not match the skills requirement in running a public market.
This less than business-like approach to its management has resulted in large arrearages, low collection efficiency and operates on a huge deficit.
In one of the workshops that we have conducted for the Public Market we identified the following gaps that affect their operation.
1. One of the reason that hampers the operation of the Public Market is the existing Executive Order transferring administrative supervision of Collectors from the EEDMO to the City Treasurers Office. The Executive Order is opposed to the existing provisions of the Market Code mandating the EEDMO to directly supervise the collection activities of the economic enterprises.
2. The collection targets of the EEDMO was not communicated to the collectors. The EEDMO and the City Treasurers office is not coordinated in their collection activities.
3. Collection Tracking of the EEDMO is not computerized.
4. Despite the presence of a large number of casual employees charged to the department, the actual persons working on the operations of the EEDMO is inadequate.
5. The city is renting a lot to extend the Pala-o Public market while the Central Market is half empty. The EEDMO proposes that some of the stallholders from the Pala-o Market be transferred to the Central Market to increase economic activity in the area as well as eliminate the rent expense. The collection in the rented lot is yet to be determined if its even enough to pay for its rent.
In line with its commitment to assist the LGU of Iligan in revenue generation, the Iligan Chamber of Commerce under the leadership of Emily M. Pascua of the Alrose Group, decided to develop an intervention in partnership with the EEDMO to address one of the gaps that hampers its operation. The project is targeted to improve the collection efficiency of the office.
The intervention will be done through 6 components of change management namely: a) gearing- up to organizational change b) skills and process improvement training and coaching c) organizational change management strengthening, d) benchmarking in selected LGUs with good billing and collection systems, e) developing and launching of a computerized Billing and Collection System of the Iligan City Public Market.
The project was already started and is on its first stage of implementation but because of the election it was interrupted. The Iligan Chamber is hoping that this will be resumed under the new administration.
But far more important than the intervention of the Iligan Chamber, the LGU needs to change its perspective on how an economic enterprise should be run if we want to transform the Iligan Public Market into a profit center.