CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – Authorities started a crackdown on hundreds of street vendors in Cagayan de Oro on Thursday, November 24, weeks ahead of the Christmas rush due to growing complaints about road and pedestrian lane obstructions near the city’s biggest and busiest market.
Police, city hall personnel, and medical responders swooped down on the busy Vicente Roa and Osmeña streets around Cogon Market, the city’s main public market, to clear the area of ambulant vendors and move them elsewhere.
Enrico Salcedo, the head of city hall’s night market team, said more than 600 vendors were affected on the first day of the crackdown.
He said more vendors would be affected in the following days as city hall prepared to rid other areas of hundreds of vendors, many of whom are selling ukay-ukay (used clothing).
“We want the clear our roads so that vehicular traffic can flow freely,” Salcedo said.
Aside from motorists, Salcedo said, owners of many tax-paying establishments in the city have been complaining about how ambulant vendors were blocking portions of streets and sidewalks, inconveniencing them and their customers.
Thursday’s crackdown was generally peaceful unlike in the past when sidewalk vendors resisted and fought the police and city hall workers who came to drive them away.
Salcedo said they met with the ambulant vendors during a series of meetings and explained to them why they need to relocate.
“We have made it clear to them that we would not prohibit them from selling, and that we only want to clear the streets,” he said.
Street vendor Marilou Alipio, a 24-year-old mother of four, said she understood city hall’s position and approved of the way authorities handled their transfer to another place.
Alipio, who sells coconut and lemon juice, said she was among those transferred to nearby Daomar Street, which is still near the public market.
“When I got to Daomar Street, I was given a space for my small stall,” Alipio, who earns an average of P1,000 a day, said.
Salcedo said street vendors, selling cooked food and raw vegetables, were given spaces in designated areas.
Other types of vendors would be relocated elsewhere, he said. – Rappler.com