‘Paskwa sa Plaza’ to aid displaced vendors

Bacolod Public Plaza (Photo Courtesy of Pompe Junior via Flickr)

By: Dolly Yasa 

BACOLOD City – Councilor Ann Palermo said the establishment of Paskwa sa Plaza for the Yuletide season aims to address the plight of sidewalk vendors who were displaced due to road clearing operations.

Palermo said their legal basis for the establishment of the “Paskwa sa Plaza” is Section 21, paragraph C and D of the Local Government Code of 1991, which allows the City Government of Bacolod to temporarily close and regulate the use of the Bacolod Public Plaza and its surrounding areas for the mentioned purposes, as well as City Ordinance No. 08-14-693.

“Aside from celebrating the Christmas season, they are also cognizant of the plight of the misplaced vendors and the Memorandum of the DILG. This is the purpose of establishing the Bacolod ‘Paskwa sa Plaza’,” she said

Earlier, Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia issued Executive Order No. 38 establishing the “Paskwa sa Plaza” at the Bacolod Public Plaza and its surrounding parking areas for the duration of the Christmas season from Dec 3, 2019 to Jan 6, 2020. It also created a committee to recommend guidelines and oversee its smooth and orderly operations.

The EO also said that in balancing the mandate of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in its Memorandum Circular No. 2019-193, a “Paskwa sa Plaza” will be temporarily established at the Bacolod Public Plaza and its surrounding parking areas for the duration of the Christmas season.

The activities for the Bacolod “Paskwa sa Plaza” will include Christmas presentations or entertainments, as well as the display and sale of local products and wares of marginalized vendors, and the conduct of other activities as may be recommended by the committee created under the EO.

The Paskua sa Plaza Committee is composed of Councilor Renecito Novero as chairman, and Councilor Ana Marie Palermo – vice chairman.

Other members are Councilors Israel Salanga, Cindy Rojas and Archie Baribar, senior tourism operations officer Sandra Sycip, Budget Officer Imelda Williams, City Engineer Belly Aguillon, executive assistant Ernesto Pineda, City Planning Officer Mary Jean Ramos, Bacolod Police Director Col. Henry Biñas, Bacolod Traffic Authority head Lt. Col. Luisito Acebuche, and Public Services head Nelson Sedillo.

In response to the letter of Leonardia requesting for legal opinion, DILG Bacolod director Ma. Joy Maredith Madayag said it is important that they reconcile the provisions of law (Local Government Code of 1991 and the Civil Code) and jurisprudence.

The Civil Code and jurisprudence dictate that public properties for public use are absolutely beyond the commerce of man. Section 21 (d) of the Local Government Code of 1991 to be properly applied must still be consistent with other laws. As a matter of fact, in Section 21 (d), an ordinance is required and ordinances to be valid must not be contrary to law, Madayag said.

Madayag said DILG Memorandum Circular No. 2019-121 dated July 29 enjoins local governments to reclaim public roads which are being used for private ends.