SEVEN-DAY WARNING: Thousands of vendors to be displaced from city sidewalks

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas meets thousands of sidewalk vendors on Sept 3, 2019 to discuss their plight in the ongoing road-clearing operations. (Photo from Iloilo City Government FB page)

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

MORE or less 1,500 vendors are given a week’s ultimatum to vacate the sidewalks in Iloilo City, Mayor Jerry Treñas said on Tuesday.

Treñas said the order is in relation to President Rodrigo Duterte’s mandate to all local government units to reclaim public spaces being used for private purposes and to clear all road obstructions in 60 days.

“We are asking seven days. Seven days from today, wala na sang sidewalk vendors sa siyudad, kabay pa maintindihan niyo ko nga kita gasunod lang kita sa order sang Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) kag sang Presidente,” he told the vendors in their dialogue on Tuesday at the Jubilee Hall.

According to the mayor, he is left with no choice but to follow the orders since refusal to do so will lead to his suspension.

“In my four terms as a mayor, wala gid ko nagtandog sa aton mga sidewalk vendors. But now, wala gid ko maubra, because ang nabilin na lang sa akon is only 27 days, gapangayo gid ko sang inyo kooperasyon,” he explained.

DILG-Iloilo City Director Roy Defiño said the vendors must heed the mandate as a city ordinance in 1992 also prohibits the use of city sidewalk for the construction of stalls and kiosks for commercial purposes

“It is prohibited to use and construct any structures, stalls or kiosks on city sidewalks, public places or plazas for business purposes except for fiesta celebration, agricultural, and industrial use wherein such use will only be approved by the city council,” Defiño said.

To compensate the affected vendors, each of them will receive P5,000 in financial assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) provided that they are included in the master list, Treñas assured.

The mayor said that the Public Employment Service Office (PESO) together with Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) will provide trainings on food processing, dressmaking, and souvenir making among others for vendors.

Indi ni pilitay kun indi kamo gusto magbaton sang financial assistance, okay lang but for those nga interesado mag-undergo livelihood training, mabulig gid sa inyo ang aton nga PESO,” he said.

Treñas said the displaced vendors of dry goods will be transferred to an area above the old International Hotel in Aldeguer-JM Basa Streets in City Proper district.

Other vendors can sell their products in a property of Panay Electric Company (PECO) in JM Basa as well.

In his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA), Pres. Duterte has ordered all local chief executives through DILG secretary Eduardo Año to reclaim all public roads being used for private purposes.

Año has announced that starting July 29, 2019, all mayors have 60 days to clear major and national roads of illegal structures and obstructions.

As of now, the mayor said the clearing team headed by Public Safety and Transportation Office (PSTMO), Task Force Anti Squatting and Illegal Structures (ASIS), and the Office of the Barangay Affairs, is 60 to 70% done in road clearing operations in the city.