Labella allows sidewalk vendors during weekends

Jerra Mae Librea

AFTER clearing the roads of obstructions, Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella now wants to test an arrangement where vendors go back to selling on sidewalks on certain days and times.

If successful, this arrangement would be presented to the National Government to show how vending need not obstruct roads and sidewalks.

Labella announced before a gathering of sidewalk vendors Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019, he would allow them to return to their original vending places during Saturdays and Sundays only, or they can participate in the night market that will be held Monday to Friday, from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., along a portion of Colon St., Cebu City, from Dec. 1, 2019 to Jan. 30, 2020 or during the Christmas season and Sinulog.

Labella said vendors can sell in the night market during weekdays, return to their original vending places but only on Saturdays and Sundays, and sell at a relocation site at the Tabo sa Banay.

The vending time during Saturdays and Sundays will still be finalized, Cebu City United Vendors Association (CCUVA) president Maria Pino said.

Vendors were displaced during road clearing operations held after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the removal of road obstructions during his State of the Nation Address last July.

Officials of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) sent instructions to local government units to remove obstructions on the roads and sidewalks.

In Cebu City, clearing operations were held in major roads and sidewalks and in market areas.

Labella told vendors that this arrangement would be for a “probationary period” or the two months to test if it is possible to allow vending without obstructing roads and sidewalks.

This is a step toward looking for a long-term solution to the complaint of the displaced vendors.

During Saturdays and Sundays, vendors can display their goods on the sidewalks of Colon St., Osmeña Blvd., N. Bacalso Ave. and at Kaohsiung St. near SM City Cebu.

The vendors have to observe the two feet by two feet space allocated to each of them based on the rules and regulations that the Prevention, Restoration, Order, Beautification and Enhancement (Probe) team had implemented

Other prohibitions by Probe are the setting up of large umbrellas or tents, and the use of folding beds or mats to display items.

Probe is the agency tasked by the mayor to clear roads of obstructions.

As part of its operations last Nov. 21, some Probe personnel apprehended a vendor and confiscated his goods. A video of the incident went viral and some netizens got upset with the use of force on the single vendor and the confiscation of his fruits.

Labella told vendors they should comply with the restrictions as the relaxing of the rule for them, if successful, could be presented to the National Government as a way where vending could be allowed.

“Kinahanglan magbaton og disiplina,” Labella told the vendors. (Discipline yourself.)

DILG 7 legal officer Ayesh Nogra was present during the meeting of Labella with the vendors. Nogra said the matter still has to be brought to the National Government, but the vendors can already start vending on the set dates provided they follow regulations.

Labella then announced that all vendors who are in the list of the CCUVA will get P20,000 financial assistance each from the Department of Labor and Employment.

Labella told vendors to use the cash assistance to buy products they can sell in the night market. Some vendors said they sell souvenirs and their goods would not be bought in the night market.