The sight of various vendors peddling their goods along the cities’ sidewalks has always been familiar, yet they are commonly treated by local authorities as nuisances — confiscating their goods and dismantling their carts while chasing them away.
Yet in spite of harsh treatments, sidewalk vendors continue to strive and make a living, all the more during the time of COVID-19 and the country’s economic standstill.
The reality was not lost on Cainta, Rizal mayor Kit Nieto upon seeing four sidewalk vendors selling their wares in front of the Puregold Junction branch. According to Mayor Kit, he would pass by the supermarket and see the vendors regularly in their usual spots, withstanding the heat.
“Nadadaanan ko sila araw araw sa may puregold junction… 4 na vendors, kanya kanyang kartilya tagpi tagpi. Naisip ko lang, madali naman silang paalisin para umaliwalas ang lugar. Problema, yung kabuhayan nila tas may pandemya pa. Parang wala sa timing”, Nieto wrote on his Facebook page.
(I would pass by them everyday by Puregold Junction — four vendors, each with their own run-down carts. I thought to myself that it would be easier to make them leave to brighten and clean up the area. But the problem is that they would lose their livelihood, during a pandemic of all times. The timing seemed off.)
Inspired by the identical-looking carts vendors would peddle from in Macau, he called up the social welfare office to assign the vendors to a safer location and provide them with carts.
“Tinawagan ko yung social welfare office. Ayusin ko na lang lagay nila.. Nagpagawa ako ng mga one cainta carts.. parang yung nakita ko sa macau… pare pareho itsura… iba iba ang tinda..para may ayos sila.. eto na. Sana alagaan lang nila para tumagal
(I called up the social welfare office. Next was to assign them to a spot. I had One Cainta carts made, similar to the ones I saw in Macau — the carts are identical but they sell different goods, so they can look more orderly. Here they are. I hope they take care of the carts so that they last. #kanyangamaygobyerno)
This article, Cainta mayor sees sidewalk vendors, gives them carts instead of removing them, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.