ILOILO City – Vendors displaced by the ongoing clearing of roads and sidewalks would be relocated to a vacant lot on JM Basa Street, City Proper.
But this is not free, according to the city government. They have to pay rent to the lot owner, the Cacho family.
There are an estimated 1,500 sidewalk vendors across the city.
There were initial discussions with the Cacho family already, said Jeck Conlu, head of the city government’s Public Safety and Transportation Management Office (PSTMO) that is overseeing the clearing of roads and sidewalks.
The Cacho lot is 2,700 square meters wide. How much would the rent be is still being finalized, said Conlu but he assured the vendors it would be “somehow minimal.”
Fruit vendors would be prioritized in the Cacho lot.
Those vending other items would be relocated to the upper floor of the Eusebio Villanueva Building (International Hotel) on Aldeguer Street, also in the City Proper.
Vendors were given seven days beginning Sept. 3 to voluntarily leave the sidewalks or the city government’s demolition teams would be dismantling their structures.
Mayor Jerry Treñas assured them of P5,000 financial assistance each.
Conlu said the city government would soon start clear the vacant Cacho which has been taken over by undergrowth (grasses, shrubs, vines, etc.) and trees.
“We target to relocate the sidewalk vendors at the Cacho property within this month,” he said.
Conlu, however, stressed that relocating the vendors at the Cacho lot is just a “short-term solution” to their displacement.
A long-term solution is being sought, he said.
“I seek your cooperation. This road and sidewalk clearing is happening all over the country as a result of President (Rodrigo) Duterte’s directive. We cannot do otherwise but follow,” Treñas told the vendors he gathered at the Jubilee Hall of the city government on Tuesday.
There is an ongoing inventory to determine those qualified for the P5,000 financial assistance.
Treñas also told the vendors they could avail themselves of livelihood and skills training offered by the city government’s Public Employment Service Office in partnership with Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.
The skills training is for food processing, dressmaking, massage therapy, welding, masonry, and carpentry, among others.
Memorandum Circular 2019-121 issued by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) gives local chief executives 60 days to comply with the President’s directive to clear roads, sidewalks and rights-of-way of obstructions.
The President issued the order on the last week of July.
Non-compliance would result in the filing of appropriate administrative charges pursuant to Section 60 (c) of the Local Government Code of 1991 and other existing laws and policies.
“If we cannot finish the clearing in a month, say goodbye to me. I will be suspended,” said Treñas./PN