Secretary of Interior and Local Government Mar Roxas paid a visit to the Pala-o Public Market in Iligan City, Lanao del Norte, today (August 25) and listened to the concerns of the Iliganons, who gave him a warm welcome.

“Sec. Mar Roxas, Ikaw among Malauman, Kahusay ug Kalinaw Maampingan [Sec. Mar Roxas, ikaw ang aming maaasahan, mapag-iingatan n’yo ang peace and order]!” read a sign held by an Iliganon woman.

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The concerns of the Pala-o Public Market’s Market Vendors Association (MVA), as well as those of the vendors and the customers, were forwarded to Roxas, who used to serve as Secretary of Trade and Industry. He was accompanied by Iligan City Rep. Vicente “Varf” Belmonte, Acting Mayor Ruderic Marzo, Acting Vice Mayor Providencio Abragan, Former Mayor Lawrence Cruz, former city councilors, and other local government officials.

The MVA is tasked to manage, maintain and secure the market, the vendors, and the customers. The MVA also provides insurance and incentives to the market vendors in partnership with different public and private offices.

Now on its 66th year, the market is occupied by an estimated 4,000 vendors despite its current dilapidated state. “Yung market, ‘di lumalaki, ‘yung vendors, dumadami,” said MVA head Jun Salig.

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Roxas spent some time in one of the stalls in the market, sipping a cup of coffee and conversing with the vendors and market goers.

“Nagpapasalamat po talaga kami sa pagpunta ni sir para bisitahin kami,” said Mrs. Clarice Omongos, one of the vendors.