The return of the sidewalk vendors
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Valeriano Avila (The Freeman) - December 3, 2019 - 12:00am

It seems that there is no stopping typhoon Tisoy (international name Kammuri) which continues to move toward the Bicol region. As of Sunday afternoon, Tisoy was 595 kilometers east of Virac, Catanduanes, and moving west at 20 kph. The typhoon has maximum sustained winds of 140 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 170 kph. Filipino athletes are gaining a lot of gold medals since the opening of the 30th Southeast Asian Games. I hope Tisoy won’t be a huge disturbance to the games.

Meanwhile, here in Cebu, we already felt the typhoon’s effects as it rained the whole day. But thanks to the Department of Education (DepEd) for shutting down classes in all levels, the usual bad traffic we had on Mondays was very bearable. While we felt the effects of the storm, I wasn’t able to check the sea if the channel between Cebu and Bohol was in no condition for small ships to sail.

As we noted in a previous news report, Cebu City councilor David Tumulak, a member of the City Council’s committee on disaster risk reduction and management, said barangays in the city have been alerted of Tisoy’s possible effects, especially as Cebu is expected to experience rains. This reminds me of the latest flooding along D. Jakosalem Street that clearly emanated from the Horizons 101 building. I know that there is a diversion canal below that building I hope our DEPW can clean it up because the flooding along Sacred Heart Center became very bad.

Incidentally, the house where the building was constructed used to the owned by Don Simon Paterno, manager of the Madrigal Oil Mills in 1920s. But it was already in ruins when I saw it. For sure, our maritime industry has been affected by Tisoy even if we are far from its path.

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We finally have the right politicians who followed the path of Manila City mayor Isko Moreno who cleaned up the city streets and stopped the decades-old problem of sidewalk vendors hogging the sidewalk without caring for cleaning their respective areas.

I’ve worked along Colon Street since my youth and seeing it without a single sidewalk vendor was a surreal experience.

In the past, no politician would dare clean up our sidewalks for fear that the backlash of the cleanup would mean their losing the next election season. Then came the election of Pres. Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte who would fight for things that went wrong and right the wrongs without fear. Then things started to clear.

So when things started to look normal in Cebu City, I read the distressing news that “sidewalk vendors who were displaced by the road clearing operations in Cebu City will be allowed to return to their original vending areas during weekends starting on December 1 until January 20 next year.” This announcement came from Mayor Edgardo Labella. Mind you, this is not happening in the City of Manila, where sidewalk vendors are still prohibited to sell along the sidewalk.

This new deal with the sidewalk vendors will be from December 1 to January 20 next year, which is proof that Mayor Labella’s heart beats for the poor and giving them a new slot with a timetable would help alleviate their plight. But when the timetable has passed and the vendors are still there, what will Cebu City do? This is something that Mayor Labella has to explain to Cebuanos, especially those who cheered him for cleaning up Cebu City’s sidewalks. So I will wait for Mayor Labella to answer my question and deal with this issue again.

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We are now in the Season of Advent, and the countdown to the 500th year of Christianity in the Philippines in 2021 has started. Cebu Archbishop Palma led a Mass in front of Magellan’s Cross kiosk in Plaza Sugbo last Sunday morning to start this countdown. I’m glad that this Mass was conducted in front of the kiosk to observe our historic significance. Mind you not many Filipinos know that the ship “Victoria” that Ferdinand Magellan used was a carrack, the first ever ship to circumnavigate the world. Yet most Filipinos say that it was a Spanish galleon which is very wrong. This is why we should build a scale model of this vessel in the Port of Cebu.

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