Bad location hurting vendors in new Agdao market

May. 25, 2024
The new Agdao market building. (Photo by Kath Cortez/

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Many vendors in the newly built Agdao Farmers’ Market have a 4 o’clock habit.

They will leave their stalls on the second floor and would go down instead to the ground floor to occupy vacant spaces and display their vegetables and dry food, and pray they can earn enough for the day.

The scenario is ironic, since the city government opened the three-story market last November of 2023, which could house 386 stalls on the first floor, 222 stalls on the second floor, and 109 stalls on the third floor.

But the vendors on the second floor, who sell vegetables and dry goods, complain that they are not earning anything as very few marketgoers go up to the second floor. Since April, they have to set up makeshift stalls, to be able to pay the rent of their stall and take home money for their families. 

“I pay 4,900 pesos a month for my stall, but I sell my products down here, because I could barely sell anything up there because nobody goes up,” says Maricel Garcia, one of the vendors. (interviews are translated from Bisaya) 

Vendor Maricel Garcia displays her vegetables in a cellophane in her stall hoping for some customers to come. (Photo by Kath Cortez/

‘Sacrificed for good image

The new Agdao market building was built for a whopping 740 million pesos, which is touted for having anti-microbial polyethylene floors.

Vendors in the dry goods section at first were enthusiastic, but they felt the crunch after a few weeks.

“It was okay at the beginning. But as the weeks went by, we felt it, there were days when we are glad to have just one or two customers in a day. What can you do? It seems better to sell on the streets, at least you earn something,” one vendor said.

One of the vendors, who requested to have her name withheld, said their business is “sacrificed for good image”.

“We stay up here the whole day and we would be lucky if we earn 500 pesos, but that won’t cover our capital. We have to pay a monthly rental of 6,000 pesos. Before we had this setup, we could earn 3,000 to 5,000 pesos in downtime, but now how can we even survive?” she asked.

The vendor had decided to give up her stall as poor sales could no longer make her pay the rent. It was tough as she had been selling in Agdao for 15 years. 

A notice of surrender is posted in some of the stalls on the second floor of the market as tenants decide to give up their space. (Photo by Kath Cortez/


Their group, the Agdao Farmer’s Market Vendors Association, sought the city council last March and requested the dry goods and variety section be moved to the ground floor which still have vacant spaces.

The city government’s Market Code of Davao had assigned sections in the Agdao market. But Councilor Edgar Ibuyan Jr, who chairs the Committee on Government Enterprises and Privatization, passed a resolution on March 22 “requesting” the City’s Economic Enterprise to allow vendors from the second floor to occupy the first floor for a prescribed time, from 5 am to 8 am, and from 3 pm to 8 pm.  

But Ligaya Uba, president of the association, said the resolution is “not entirely an assurance” as there is no document provided to them and the market administrator has a different interpretation of the resolution.

“It seems to appear that we are begging them for consideration because there’s no approval from the city administrator or a copy of the approved resolution provided to them,” said Uba. 

The group questioned the market’s floor plan on the ground floor which seeks to lease spaces for banks, parlors, and restaurants in the original location of the variety section. 

“Help me understand, we used to occupy the first floor, but in this new building, we were transferred. Can you imagine how this market looks like with banks, payment centers, does it look like a market?” asks Uba.

A notice of surrender is posted in some of the stalls on the second floor of the market as tenants decide to give up their space. (Photo by Kath Cortez/

Second district Councilor Javi Campos held consultations with the vendors and noted that of the 347 vendors that were awarded with stalls, more than a third or 133 have given up their stalls, while the remaining 124 are “partially open but non-operational”.

“This is quite alarming because this is not just an issue of promotion or lack of advertising of the Agdao Public Market. There are real issues that are affecting our enterprise and we cannot allow this to continue,” the councilor said in a recent session in council.

The councilor also noted complaints such as the non-functioning of the market’s walkalator and “disorganized layout” which contribute to the lack of accessibility to vendors, and the slippery flooring which poses risks to senior citizens.

Maximo Macalipes, head of the Davao City Economic Enterprise, said in a press interview that the vendors’ petition will need amendments to the Market Code that will be initiated by the City Council.

But he explained that the dry goods section cannot occupy the commercial spaces. “We can’t do that because it is allotted for commercial rentals and we are waiting for the fixed amount of the rates,” Macalipes said.

The local economic head said they will make efforts to repair the walkalator and make promotional schemes to boost sales for the vendors. (

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