DILG tells Labella to maintain cleared sidewalks in Cebu City

Ryan Macasero
DILG tells Labella to maintain cleared sidewalks in Cebu City
Some vendors complain they will earn less at the relocation site due to less foot traffic

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Ahead of the October 4 deadline, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Epimaco Denseng III said he was impressed with the clearing of sidewalks on Osmeña Boulevard and Colon Street and he hoped the city could maintain the cleanliness and order of the sidewalks. 

Denseng said in the years he’d been coming to Cebu City, he had never seen these areas clean.

“But the question is sustainability. How will they maintain?” Denseng told reporters on Monday, September 30. 

“For the barangay captains and municipal [mayor who don’t comply], we might file suspension cases with the Office of the Ombudsman,” he said. 

Vendors were given until Sunday, September 29, to relocate to a designated area on F. Gonzales Street at a market called Tabo sa Banay (family market). (READ: Downtown Cebu City sidewalk vendors given Sunday noon deadline to relocate)

None of the vendors who were relocated had returned to their old spots as of the inspection. 

“I thank Undersec for kind words,” Cebu CIty Mayor Edgardo Labella said on Monday. “We have to continue and see to it they will not return,” he added.

However, vendors affected by the clearing met with Labella on Tuesday, October 1, to complain that they would not be able to earn as much in their new spots due to less foot traffic. 

Labella said he would allow some vendors to return to their old spots on Osmeña Boulevard and Colon Street.

“Let’s come to a mutual agreement, okay? Let’s make them (stalls) smaller. Let’s regulate them,”  Labella told some 40 members of a street vendors’ organization. 

However, his head of beautification and enhancement Raquel Arce, said on Wednesday, October 2, that was not what the mayor meant. 

“The vendors cannot go back to their old spots, but they will be able to sell in a new area,” Arce was quoted in a Cebu Daily News report

Labella’s public information officer Razel Cuizon confirmed this in a text message to Rappler. “What the mayor means is that the vendors could return to selling, but, as for the location, they would have to be determined by market authorities and [the beautification and enhancement office],” she said.

Vendors selling on other roads, however, will be allowed to stay but under stricter regulations on the size and placement of their stalls on the sidewalks until a proper relocation site is identified. – Rappler.com

Ryan Macasero

Ryan covers Cebu and the Visayas for Rappler. He covers all news in the region, but is particularly interested in people stories, development issues and local policy making.