MANILA, Philippines – After many years of selling without permanent spots, the vendors in Quezon City who were displaced in street clearing operations are about to have a place for themselves.
Sari Sari Kyusi, a night market that will allow street vendors to sell their products in time for the holiday season, will be open from November 24, 2019, to January 19, 2020, the Quezon City government announced on Thursday, November 14.
The night market will be in two locations: at the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) Compound at the corner of Elliptical and Maharlika roads, and at Ayala Vertis North.
The vendors' stalls will be rent-free, but they will be paying P150 per day for utilities.
Ayalyn Bensorto, a vendor whose stall in Barangay Holy Spirit was demolished during the clearing operations, thinks this is a only a small fee to pay. Bensorto paid operators an average of P600 in other bazaars.
In addition, she would prefer vending in a bazaar than along the streets, where she fears apprehension at any moment.
"Nakakatakot dahil huhulihin ka lang, para kang [pupuksain]. 'Di 'gaya ng project ni Mayor, parang proud ka pa. Ngayon, proud na proud ako," Bensorto said. (I was afraid of being caught, it feels like they were coming to get you. With the Mayor's project, I feel very proud.)
Some 2,000 street vendors have been displaced by the road clearing operations mandated by the Department of the Interior and Local Government. Only around 800 of them have registered to participate in Sari Sari Kyusi.
According to Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte, the night market is only one of the strategies the city government is employing in relocating the displaced vendors. Some of them will be moved to public markets while some will be moved to barangay properties.
The city government also eyes the construction of more public markets to accommodate more vendors. After the night market's run, the vendors will be moved to temporary vending sites.
Suki sa Kyusi
During the launch on Thursday, Belmonte said the vendors' displacement also affected their customers, who would buy their goods because they were more accessible and more affordable.
"We needed a program that would not only restore the livelihood of our displaced street vendors, but more so to restore their dignity and their pride in the business that they were doing. We want them to be proud of their crafts and to be part of Quezon City," Belmonte said.
To help legitimize informal vendors, the city government also established the Suki sa Kyusi Club, an organization of voluntary micro-business owners with the goal of creating a micro-enterprise community in the city.
Prospective members will be nominated by the city government from the list of displaced street vendors.
To be a member of the club, the vendors will have to pay a fee, which has yet to be determined. The fee will cover a welcome starter kit with a handbook, ID card, club shirt or apron, and an eco bag. The members will also have access to workshops on entrepreneurial mindset, financial literacy, visual merchandising, and food safety.
Vendors who registered for Sari Sari Kyusi will automatically be included in the club, which has yet to be formally launched. – Rappler.com
Loreben Tuquero is a researcher-writer for Rappler. Before transferring to Rappler's Research team, she covered transportation, Quezon City, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government as a reporter. She graduated with a communication degree from the Ateneo de Manila University.