The Horrors of ‘Ormoc City Food Bazaar’ and Its Grave Sin To Floyd Salazar

A lot of us are excited to experience again the fun of drinking overpriced beers on a weekend or spending our money on a lemon juice drink that’s contained only by a slightly bigger plastic glass than what we have at our home. For those who have gastronomical cravings, they either get the joy of buying too much oily foods or getting lost in foreign desserts with names that they don’t even know how to pronounce properly. It’s always like this in Quadro. But there’s another looming force of temptation so cunningly ‘copied’ from the idea of a man who created ‘Quadro’ –and that’s what we are going to talk about.

Many a lot are wondering why Quadro was gone for two weeks where it’s supposed to be operating like it used to on weekends and only went back in operation just this week. Lo and behold, assuming for the sake of argument that the business plan was a registered work, an intellectual property crime has been committed, veiled as Ormoc City Food Bazaar where every fiber of its ‘concept’ are distillates, if not a replica, of the whole anatomy of the then Quadro, which favored the interests of the powerful few –Pocholo Franco owner of Viaje International and Vice President of City Tourism and Peter ‘Perok’ Rodriguez, a shareholder of Mayongs, City Fiesta Execom and a member of Ormoc Chamber and Rotary Club of Ormoc.

Quadro’s History: Opposed by the administration’s council members

Let’s all consider the fact that Ormoc City’s Mayor is a business degree holder. So after he won the elections, he started looking for entrepreneurs to invest and help Ormoc develop its squandered economic potentials which directly nicked the city’s tourism industry. Then came Floyd Salazar, an outsider, who proposed a well-conceptualized business plan to the Mayor contrived to help business enthusiasts –who has potentials but lacked the resources– to properly market their products in the city without the trouble of securing business permits and other legal requirements to operate a business because, again, they’re all considered start-up businesses.

The business plan seemed to be plausible and efficient since after its first operation in November of 2016, it continuously dominated the city goers’ top weekend destinations and it ultimately became the highlight of the city for the past couple of months just until recently. In the midst of Quadro’s inception however, a lot of the administration’s council members opposed the event’s operations for the following arguments as gathered by our team:

  1. the plaza should be maintained quiet,
  2. Quadro’s business plan should be processed and approved in Sanggunian, and;
  3. the city’s resources should not be exclusive to ‘Third Party’ entities. Meaning, its exclusivity should only be available to Local Government Unit members and individuals whose domicile is in Ormoc City and not to individuals outside the city’s jurisdiction.

The above are the council members’ three main arguments when they so strongly opposed the approval of Quadro in the city. Unbeknownst to the many, Richard Gomez found Floyd Salazar’s business plan a plausible idea since it would not only foster the promotion of small-scale businesses, but would at the same time let the city earn while boosting its tourism industry.

Quadro’s Anatomy: It’s Business Framework

Now let’s focus on what’s circulating Quadro’s anatomy as a business beacon whose appeal to the eyes is obvious –a testing market for the said business owners. As what all of us have observed, Quadro only operated on weekends that starts from Friday night and ends in Sunday night –all of which are enough of a time for a business owner to calibrate his options as to either a) renew his agreement to continue doing his business in Quadro, or b) abort because his business is losing.

The business owner has to quantify his options because he has to pay a varying set of rentals which would range from Php 2,000 to Php 2,500 for the whole three weekend nights. What with all of the expenses from tent rentals to security and to entertainment. However, councilors weren’t so keen about the rentals’ prices thinking it’s too much for a stall, but one couldn’t deny the fact that we’ve been seeing council members thumping their feet to the rhythm of the music and sitting comfortably on well-lit tents simply because business owners agreed to pay Floyd Salazar with the said set of prices. There’s one Filipino word for that: Ipokrito.

Let’s take a slice of the whole truth why Quadro represents the dysfunctional political system of Ormoc. The city’s council members are mostly members of the prominent families in the city who has all the necessary resources and connections in establishing a working and efficient business establishment. Add that to the equation that they had all the time all those years to create it and present it to the previous administrations, but what did they do? They squandered all those times when it’s just within their grasp. Quadro will always be the living reminder that most Ormocanons really lack insight which led them to harp at successful businesses in the city today.

Going back, business owners will agree to pay the agreed rental price all due to one reason: their only concern will now solely focus on setting up their businesses. For the benefit of everyone, these small-scale businesses in Quadro don’t have to secure permits and other legal requirements like every other business in the city must have except for a sanitary permit. This means that they don’t have to report their earnings to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and even to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). So in short, these businesses are earning whilst paying the embattled Php 700 rental fee per tent per night without the added worry of declaring their gains from Quadro on their tax papers. Another fact is that, these businesses do not have written contracts with Quadro so they are already guaranteed a hassle free business operations compared to Salazar.

On the other hand, Salazar carried the brunt of the burden in his nape when he agreed to establish Quadro between the city and him. This is due to the case that Salazar and the city had no written agreement which would seal a contract between the two parties. In proposing a business, it’s always a protocol to send a Letter of Intent (LOI) followed by the Statements of Proposal which has to be approved first before one could secure a permit in which case wasn’t granted to Floyd Salazar. Brave Ormocanon has come to a conclusion that the city agreed to Salazar’s proposal through a ‘verbal’ response. As a result, the city could ‘fire’ him whenever they want because again, there was no contract between the two parties. In short, the city, per se, has been using Salazar since the inception of Quadro with Salazar consenting to this scenario.

The Crime of Ormoc City Food Bazaar and its complicit – the City Fiesta Execom

It has come to our knowledge that the mayor removed the civic night and in turn appointed each various organizations in the city to hold activities or events to which Quadro’s fate landed on Ormoc Chamber.

(Image L: Peter “Perok” Rodriguez, City Fiesta Execom. R: Pocholo Aragones Franco, Vice President of City Tourism)

It behooves one to think that Ormoc Chamber has committed a crime when it created ‘Ormoc City Food Bazaar’ –an event which is a replica of the now extinct Quadro. See, Ormoc Chamber was successful in its attempt to takeover Floyd Salazar and inject Pocholo Franco, who also created the now defunct Taboan Expo, into this systematically orchestrated intellectual property crime which even had Richard Gomez beguiled. Thus, it is far safe on our side to claim that Peter ‘Perok’ Rodriguez –the City Fiesta Execom– has consented into committing an intellectual property infringement towards the idea of Floyd Salazar which is considered by the country’s criminal law as a criminal offense. This is, again, under the assumption that Floyd Salazar’s business proposal is a registered and a published work which has to be copyright protected.

What was Rodriguez thinking when he kicked out Salazar into the system and injected Franco to use Salazar’s idea? This brings us back to the three main arguments above of the city’s council members when they opposed Quadro’s operation that:

  1. the plaza should be maintained quiet,

Should the plaza quadrangle be maintained quiet when it could be a great ground for economic development? This claim already lost its functional value when they saw that Quadro was a great opportunity. So no, the first claim is now out of the equation which would move us to their second claim that:

  1. Quadro’s business plan should be processed and approved in Sanggunian.

In lieu of validating this claim, to which our team would fail to do so since the lot of us are not juris doctors anyway, would lead us to one point we have above: that the council members just wanted to block the approval of Quadro since they know it would stir the geopolitical and economic tides of Ormoc. This backwards thinking is anathema to the mayor’s slogan of Get Ormoc Moving Again which aimed to develop Ormoc City. Now could that be the main reason why Ormoc Chamber blocked the outsider? Partly. It could be, but the one main reason why they blocked Floyd Salazar’s Quadro boils down to their third argument that:

  1. the city’sresources should not be exclusive to ‘Third Party’ entities. Meaning, its exclusivity should only be available to LGU members and individuals whose domicile is in Ormoc City and not to individuals outside the city’s jurisdiction.

Isn’t it ironic when a third of the successful businesses here in Ormoc belong to the same genus of ‘Third Party’ at which the city’s council members so adamantly blocks? To name a few, there is GAISANO, SM, Robinsons, Big Ming and don’t they dare forget that they’re even working under a mayor who is an ‘outsider’ by nature.

See, one would think that Ormoc City has at least fixed its backwards mindset when we speak of progress but it seems that there’s still a lot to change. If Ormocanons wants progress, then they have to change their attitudes –which does not limit to thinking like ‘outsiders’– and needs to obliterate the primitive mindset they have nurtured themselves at a young age which blocks potentials and unnecessarily endangers progress.

To Mayor Richard Gomez, you have proven it enough that you only wanted what’s best for the city. Now you have another task, you must shake up your council members if you want an efficient government who isn’t against the idea of progress –even if it means seeking an ‘outsiders’ idea to help you because c’mon, aren’t you ashamed of the quality of what ‘Ormoc City Food Bazaar’ is giving Ormocanons and its visitors right now? This does not only damages your reputation, but it would also represent the quality of your work and your title as an MBA holder.

To Floyd Salazar, his only justice right now is the exposé of this article which hopefully opened the eyes of the Mayor to the horrors of Ormoc City Food Bazaar because whether the council members defend their claims, they could never ever deny the fact that they didn’t see Quadro coming which led them to steal it from him. The city should be thankful to Salazar for creating a first event of its kind to happen here in Ormoc and the whole of Leyte which would pale Cebu’s Sugbo Merkado in terms of payment, quality and class.

The Brave Ormocanon’s Caveat

We all know that this article has an emotional currency attached to it and we have already received scathing opinions and threatening messages from various people hit by our team. It is therefore necessary for us to have our readers know that threats of any kind, which does not limit to death threats nor physical harm, won’t stop the team from exposing issues to help people see insights from an ‘outsiders’ perspectives. Brave Ormocanon will always be here and will live to its legacy to keep writing for Ormoc and to keep thinking for the Ormocanons.

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