Mayor extends Colon night market activities, warns erring vendors

WHILE the operation of the night market on Colon St. may have been extended until Feb. 29, 2020, Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella warned vendors that violations will not be tolerated.

The mayor said he will stop all night market activities should erring vendors continue to ignore the terms of agreement they had entered into with the City Government.

“I heard that some vendors are smoking while they are selling. Things like that will have to be investigated,” Labella said in a news conference on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020.

The “probationary period” of the night market was supposed to end Friday, Jan. 31, but after listening to the side of the vendors, the mayor decided to give them another month to continue doing business.

Along with the one-month extension of the night market is the start of the conduct of investigation against erring vendors, Labella said.

In November 2019, Labella announced before a gathering of sidewalk vendors that he would allow them to return to their original vending places during Saturdays and Sundays only.

Around 500 slots were also given to vendors who wanted to participate in the night market held Monday to Friday, from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., along a portion of Colon St.

These vendors were affected by President Rodrigo Duterte’s mandate for local government units to reclaim public roads being used for private purposes in order to ease traffic congestion.

But the night market has been the subject of controversy, including allegations of illegal rental activities, despite only operating for two months.

Five vendors were no longer allowed to sell their merchandise at the night market and on any sidewalk after the City Legal Office found that they leased their spots at P10,000 to P20,000 to other vendors.

City Market Administrator Jonil Matuguina, for his part, said he concurs with the mayor’s sentiments on extending the night market activities.

Matuguina, though, had initially preferred stopping the night market due to erring vendors.

He said he will meet with the night market vendors “to correct some errors, put in place measures to make sure smooth operations of the night market, and also to lessen complaints.” (JJL)