Ukay-ukay stalls persist despite ban

DESPITE public protests and attempts to ban them, ukay-ukay vendors are still present at the Jaro Agro-Industrial Fair inside Jaro Plaza, Iloilo City, Feb. 1, 2019. (Ricky D. Alejo)

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

DESPITE relentless attempts to ban their stalls inside public plazas, vendors of ukay-ukay (second hand clothing and apparel) were still present during the Jaro Agro-Industrial Fair in Jaro Plaza last week.

Mayor Jose Espinosa III said in an interview on Monday that police can confiscate and close ukay-ukay stalls in plazas.

“The police have the authority to confiscate and close ang ina nga establishments,” Espinosa said.

The mayor also warned ukay-ukay vendors that they are banned from selling in plazas.

“They should not continue anymore in the plaza. If they will continue, i-blacklist  naton kag indi naton pagpasudlon in all markets,” he stressed.

The mayor said the ban on ukay-ukay inside plazas is in keeping with Republic Act 4653 or “An act to safeguard the health of the people and maintain the dignity of the nation by declaring it a national policy to prohibit the commercial importation of textile articles commonly known as used clothing and rags.”

The ban has been in place since 2017.

Espinosa even issued an executive order directing the Task Force on Anti-Squatting and Illegal Structures to tear down ukay-ukay stalls in public plazas.

Still, ukay-ukay continue to thrive in plazas.

“May violation man na pero sige gihaponIndi ta kabalo, dugay dugay may gabaligya,” Espinosa lamented.

When questioned about the strength of his EO, Espinosa said his order is enough basis to arrest violators.

“Basta may violation, then by the strength of the EO, they can be apprehended,” he said.

The mayor encouraged the public to report to the police the presence of ukay-ukay stalls inside public plazas.

“Anyone can report. As a public citizen of our country if you see something which is something against the law, you have to report it. If the crime is about to be committed or just been committed, you can approach our police authority,” he added.