‘CHRISTMAS WISH’: Vendors seek return to city sidewalks

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

Sidewalk vendors in Iloilo City have one wish this Christmas – open the city sidewalks so that they can sell amid the rising demand of gifts and decors this holiday season.

In a phone interview on Tuesday, Niel Dichupa, the new president of the Sidewalk Vendors Association of Iloilo City, said they will hold dialogue with Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas this week to ask him to allow vendors on the sidewalks for added income, especially this Christmas.

“Ang sentimiento sang mga myembro ko amo gid na nga maka hambal kami kay mayor maski gamay lang nga inadlaw at least bala makaplastar man sila. May plan to talk with mayor within this week para at least may dal-on man ang amon myembro sa amon panimalay sa Christmas,” he said.

According to Dichupa, the 254 vendors crowding in their new relocation site on JM Basa Street, City Proper district are hardly earning. The lot is owned by the Cacho family.

“254 dira ang sa may Cacho-property and ang sa front lang gid guro ang maka-ayo ayo benta pero sa likod budlay gid,” he lamented.

The city government ordered vendors in the metro to vacate the sidewalks as part of road clearing operations ordered by the national government.

The vendors were transferred to the 2,700-square-meter property of Panay Electric Company (PECO) on JM Basa Street.

Recently, Public Safety and Transportation Management Office (PSTMO) reiterated that sidewalk vendors are still prohibited from selling on the sidewalks.

PSTMO head Jeck Conlu said they caught 13 vendors on the sidewalks of Ledesma Street, Rizal Street, and Jalandoni Street in City proper. He emphasized that obstructions on the sidewalks are still considered illegal.

In an interview on Friday, Treñas said he will have to confer with the City Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) on the possibility of allowing the vendors to sell in the city sidewalks.

“I will have to confer with DILG because there is new memorandum nga asta na sa mga barangay roads so I don’t know how it can be allowed under those circumstances but I will confer with DILG,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dichupa said they will respect the mayor’s decision.

Ginarespeto namon kon ano ang mangin decision ni mayor respetuhon namon na ya pero ginapangamuyo ko lang nga hatagan kami ni mayor sang gamay nga konsuelo sa Christmas kag pasalamatan gid na namon kon ano ang mabulig ya,” he said.