Relocating vendors to rented spaces ‘for the common good’ – MMDA
MANILA, Philippines – Illegal vendors displaced in road clearing operations across the capital region will have to agree to be relocated from the streets to rented spaces inside establishments for the benefit of the greater majority, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said.
"Kung isang libo ang vendors diyan, isang libong pamilya ang maaapektuhan. Pero 'yan 'pag naapektuhan man, ilang daang libo ang giginhawa na motorista? Doon tayo sa common good, 'yung mas maraming makikinabang," MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia said in a chance interview after the Metro Manila Council meeting on Tuesday, August 27.
(If the roads are cleared of 1,000 vendors, then 1,000 families will be affected. But if they are taken off the road, how many hundreds of thousands of motorists would be relieved? We pursue the common good, what will benefit a greater number of people.)
Illegal vendors have been displaced since the Department of the Interior and Local Government, taking its cue from President Rodrigo Duterte, ordered Metro Manila mayors to clear roads of obstructions within 60 days to address the worsening traffic situation.
Garcia said vendors choose to be in "prime spots" on the streets even if establishments have vacant spaces inside.
"Twenty, thirty years na sila sa kalsada, matagal na nila napakinabangan 'yan, it's about time gobyerno naman ang makinabang diyan," he said. (They have been occupying the roads for 20, 30 years. They have benefited for a long time. It's about time the government puts the roads to good use.)
Street vendors usually pay a few hundred pesos a day to private "organizers" or "protectors" who are not connected or not remitting fees to local governments. They have a pay a much bigger amount if they rent spaces in public markets and other establishments.
Garcia dismissed allegations that the policy is anti-poor.
"Hindi tayo anti-vendor, hindi tayo anti-poor. 'Wag 'nyo kaming pag-awayin sa mga vendors, sinusuportahan natin 'yan. Ang sinasabi namin, inaayos lang natin nang maganda," he said. (We're not anti-vendor, we're not anti-poor. Don't pit us against the vendors, we support them. What we're saying is, we're putting order here.)
Garcia expressed frustration over "snipers," a term he uses to refer to vendors who place their goods on blankets or native shopping bags so they can quickly pack up and run when they see the authorities approaching. They return to their illegal spots once the street clearing teams are gone.
Meanwhile, the organized vendors have all been taken off the streets, according to Garcia.
"Wala silang magagawa, no compromise. Matitigas ang mga mayor natin ngayon, walang pakiusapan," Garcia said. (They cannot do anything, no compromise. Our mayors now are strict, and won't negotiate with them.)
In Quezon City, Mayor Joy Belmonte has proposed to relocate vendors to public markets, but plans to waive their rental fees for up to two months so they can settle in.
In Marikina, the city government will open this year a new public market to house vendors displaced in the street clearing operations. Mayor Marcelino Teodoro also plans to provide decent places and microfinancing for sidewalk vendors and ambulant vendors from nearby cities and municipalities. – Rappler.com