Cebu News

Moratorium sought

Caecent No-ot Magsumbol - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — A city councilor has sought a moratorium on the apprehension of ambulant vendors in Cebu City following reports of alleged harassments and undue processes.

In a privilege speech yesterday during the Cebu City Council’s regular session, Councilor Jun Alcover asked for a suspension on the apprehension of ambulant vendors until all parties, who are allegedly involved in recent reports of harassment, have sat down to discuss the concerns.

Last April 21, a street vendor accused personnel of the city’s Road Management Authority (RMA) and the Prevention Restoration Order Beautification Enhancement (PROBE) of harassment after their products were allegedly thrown when they were caught selling at Osmena Blvd, corner Plaridel St. on Sunday morning.

Alcover said that while he is aware of the laws that not all sidewalks can accommodate street vendors, he also describes several apprehensions done by city personnel as cruel, although he pointed out that he does not know if the throwing out of the goods being sold by vendors was intentional or not.

“Dili pud nato masuta kung nayabo ba o giyabo ba sa maong pag dakop,” Alcover said, while clarifying that he is not siding with anyone.

“Wala koy gilabanan ani nga issue…Kung wala masubay sa bala-od ang mga nahilambigit na mga ambulant vendors, ato ni hatagag tukmang silot,” he added, stressing that due process should be followed.

“Pero bisan man nakalapas, dapat adunay hustong proseso,” Alcover said and asked for understanding, as well, for the ambulant vendors as this is due to hardship.

“Tungod sa kalisod sa panahon. Dili pa ta advance economically, kini ilaha sugal ni…nangita pamaagi,” stressed Alcover.

“Maayo na lang gani ni kay wala mangawat o manulit, or laing illegal nga kalihukan para lang mabuhi ang pamilya,” he added.

With this, Alcover urged the City Government to implement a momentary moratorium over apprehensions on ambulant vendors.

“Akong personal nga awhag nga kon mahimo, ang City government or ang City Council mupatuman og moratorium niining pagpanakop sa mga ambulant vendors while atong hisgutan, tan-awn nato kon unsay angay buhaton nga dili mag balik-balik na murag bayolente kayo (apprehensions),” Alcover said.

Within the said period, Alcover said a dialogue with the ambulant vendors and the appropriate city authorities should take place with executive or legislative intervention.

The City Council has agreed to the session, and has set one on May 29, 2024. This would include PROBE, RMA, Garbo Asenso Sumbanan Alyansa(GASA), the Office of the City Markets, and the various vendors association, including ambulant vendors.

The dialogue is expected to discuss possible interventions to mitigate the unlawful apprehensions and to educate ambulant vendors of allowed areas of commerce within the city.

In the meantime, GASA head Maria Pino has advised vendors to religiously follow the city’s regulations to avoid being penalized.

GASA, which has been instituted under city ordinances, aims to take care of street vendors, at the same time regulating the business of peddling and street vending in order to mitigate road encroachments and congestion to promote the safety of the peddlers, consumers, and the riding public.

GASA has profiled around 2,000 regulated street vendors or those that complied with the city’s requirements.

“Bisan og regulated o profiled na sila sa GASA og gihatagan og chance nga makabaligya sila diha, dili na pasabot nga angkonon nalang nila nang lugar,” Pino said through the City’s Sugboanon channel.

As such, Pino reminded street vendors that while they are allowed to sell in the city’s sidewalks, there are limits to their presence in the area.

“Ila nang responsibilidad nga ampingan, bantayan, ug limpyohan ang lugar nga asa sila mamaligya,” Pino said, and stressed that sidewalk vendors are not allowed to sell on the streets so that they will not obstruct traffic.

“Mo-give way gyud ta sa mga pedestrians and motorists, mao na atong orientation,” Pino added.

As for ambulant or loose vendors, Pino urged them to organize themselves and seek GASA’s assistance in order to be regulated.

She said that the city’s loose vendors have reached around 10,000 and GASA continues to coordinate with them.

Regarding last April 21’s incident that was posted in social media, Pino said she had already spoken with the said vendor who accordingly accused RMA and PROBE personnel of harassment.

The vendor claimed RMA and PROBE personnel threw the tub of fruit juice he was supposed to sell, but later on admitted to Pino and Barangay Ermita’s barangay captain Mark Miral that it was not RMA and PROBE personnel’s fault.

The vendors reportedly said that the tub of fruit juice accidentally fell on the street after he and other vendors frantically ran when they saw traffic and PROBE personnel.

“Sa karatol namo, nagdiganay nalang mi mao tung nayabo tong baligya nako,” Baguio told Pino and Miral, who have advised the vendor to apologize to RMA and PROBE personnel.

GASA is also willing to assist vendors to find a place where they can sell peacefully. — /ATO (FREEMAN)

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