MMDA sees end to Baclaran chaos with vendors schemeBy Niña Calleja
Philippine Daily Inquirer
If all goes according to plan for the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), all roads leading to Baclaran Church in Parañaque City will have fewer vendors and more space for motorists, commuters and churchgoers during the holidays.
At least 26 of the 30 leaders of vendor associations operating in Baclaran flea market near the Mother of Perpetual Help Shrine signed an agreement before MMDA Chair Francis Tolentino on Friday to implement a traffic alleviation scheme from Dec. 15 to Jan. 6.
Under a proposed scheme, the number of vendors in Baclaran each day will be reduced from the average of 1,000 to 350.
To do this, Tolentino said, the vendors have to put up their stalls in rotation. The first group, for example, can sell goods only on the first three days of the week, while the other group can have its turn on the fourth, fifth and sixth day.
On the seventh day, nobody will be allowed to sell. Instead, the vendors will “help us clean the area,” Tolentino said in a dialogue with the leaders on Friday at the MMDA main office in Makati City.
Francis Martinez, head of the agency’s Metro Parkway Clearing Group, said his people will clear the immediate vicinity of the church and relocate the vendors to a road adjacent to Roxas Boulevard.
Each store owner will be given a 1.5-meter by 1.5-meter space on rows to be bordered by “see-through fences,” while the MMDA will open 30-meter long pathways in between the rows of stalls.
Tolentino said the plan should lead to a win-win situation for both vendors and churchgoers. “Don’t you like that? Our main goal here is to improve the surroundings of the Baclaran church,” the MMDA chair said.