Sidewalk vendors to enjoy one-year free rent at new site

(Photo By Emme Rose Santiagudo)

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

Displaced sidewalk vendors that were transferred to the 2,700-square-meter property of Panay Electric Company (PECO) in JM Basa Street, Iloilo City will be spared from paying rent for one year.

According to Jimmy Dorado, president of the Sidewalk Vendors Association of Iloilo City, PECO’s Administrative Manager Marcelo Cacho met with them on Wednesday to break the good news.

Nakameeting kami and ginhambalan kami nga one year libre ang amon renta didto,” he confirmed in a phone interview on Friday.

Dorado said the more than 250 sidewalk vendors in the area were all delighted of the one-year free rental as it is a big help to them.

Nalipay man sila kay sa sulod sang one year, libre. Sang nagligad gapaminsar kami nga basi bala indi kami magdugay kag pahalinun kami,” he said.

As part of the road clearing mandate of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, Mayor Jerry Treñas ordered vendors to vacate the city sidewalks.

The city scored 83% in its road clearing accomplishment as validated by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Several weeks after the road clearing mandate officially ended on Sept. 29, Dorado said sidewalk vendors are slowly adjusting to the new relocation site although their income was much bigger in the sidewalks.

Amat-amat ga-adjust naman kami pero nagnubo amon income. Mas nami gihapon sa sidewalks,” he said.

Despite this, Dorado only hopes that the vendors will be properly sectioned in the new site and that the long-term plan of the city government and PECO will be rolled out soon.

“Mas komportable basta maplastar lang tani kami mayo. May plano man sila nga panamion diri teh tani mahuman na,” he said.

Public Safety and Transportation Management Office (PSTMO) head Jeck Conlu said that while the rentals will be free for one year, PECO will still propose a minimal rental fee as it also want to develop the area.

“One year ginhatag sang PECO for the sidewalk vendors nga free ang pag-usar pero before ma-end ang one year, istoryahon nila ang minimal rate sa property,” he said.

In previous interviews, Conlu said that they are laying down plans with partners and other stakeholders for the possible development of the area of the sidewalk vendors under the Private-Public-Partnership (PPP) scheme.

One of the plans is to develop the vicinity into a souvenir area and incorporate it as part of the itinerary of tourism activities in the city, he said.