By: Emme Rose Santiagudo
VENDORS in Iloilo City have no choice but to vacate the sidewalks as their five-day extension officially ends today, Sept 16, 2019.
Mayor Jerry Treñas gave the vendors a five-day extension from the initial seven-day deadline to vacate the city sidewalks as part of their road clearing operations ordered by the national government.
For the past week, task forces and departments of the city government conducted the clearing operations on the property of Panay Electric Company (PECO) in JM Basa Street in City Proper which will serve as the relocation site of the affected vendors.
However, the property can only accommodate around 254 vendors, according to Jimmy Dorado president of the Sidewalk Vendors Association of Iloilo City.
In a phone interview on Sunday, Dorado said that they don’t have a choice but to transfer and try to fit their stalls in the 2,700-square-meter property.
“Tani prutas kag mga pagkaon lang da anay ang ma-transfer pero tungod man gusto man namon tanan makasulod dira, paigo-igu-on lang namon nga makasulod di ang tanan nga vendors kay indi man namon gusto nga may mabilin man sa amon,” he said.
Dorado said that the initial plan was to transfer vendors selling dry goods on the upper floor of the International Hotel in J.M. Basa Street.
However, several vendors refused because the location is not ideal for business.
“Dira na tani ang RTW and dry goods ugaling tungod sa sakaon and hulungdon pa kay masaka gid bala didto ang customers unlike sa PECO property bala nga makita gid bala kami,” Dorado said.
According to Dorado, vendors of City Proper district conducted draw lots on Sunday to determine their respective areas at the PECO property.
Other sidewalk vendors will have to wait, Dorado added.
He said that they are not expecting any extension from the mayor. Instead, Dorado requested for the installation of roofing and light bulbs on the area.
“Buliligan lang namon nga mavendors, kon sin-o matuon diri sa pwesto, sila na lang ang maplastar sang maayo. Wala gid kami choice, agwantahun lang anay namon. Ang amon na lang napangayo suga and atop kay mabudlay diri kon mag-inulan,” he said.
Treñas had promised each of the 1,500 vendors P5,000 aid but until now Dorado said that they haven’t received any assistance.
Despite this, he encouraged his fellow sidewalk vendors to cooperate with the clearing operations of the city government.
“Mayo na lang nga may ginhatag sa aton nga sayluhan, kooperar na lang sila,” he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte had ordered all local governments units to reclaim public spaces being used for private purposes and to clear all road obstructions.
The 60-day deadline of the President to all the mayors in the country ends in the last week of September.