Busy Manila roads still vendor-free
MANILA, Philippines — For the second day in a row, some of Manila’s most impassable streets were clear of vendors and passable to motorists and pedestrians, leaving some people cautiously optimistic.
“We are very happy because we thought this was impossible. It’s always difficult to walk on Juan Luna Street because of the illegal vendors,” Ella May Radoc, 21, told the Inquirer on Wednesday.
Radoc, who worked as an elevator operator in Ermita, and her friend, Fritzel Irish dela Rosa, said it was now also easier to get a ride on the busy Binondo street.
Main reason for cutting trips
The vendors who used to clog the road, just meters away from the Divisoria malls, were the main reason why jeepney drivers cut trips.
As a result, passengers like Radoc and Dela Rosa were frequently forced to walk the rest of the way to get to their destinations.
Despite the big improvement, both women said they would reserve judgement until December. While admitting that they were impressed, they stressed that it was common for politicians to renege on their promises a few months into their term.
“We hope it remains like this for good,” Dela Rosa said.
Upon the orders of Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, members of the Manila Police District have been conducting clearing operations to reclaim these so-called impassable streets from ambulant vendors.
One of Domagoso’s campaign promises was to clear the city’s roads to ease traffic.
In fact, after he was proclaimed the winner in the city’s mayoral race on May 13, he warned all the vendors who had been occupying the streets, particularly Juan Luna.
On his third day in office, the areas of Blumentritt, Divisoria, Quiapo, Binondo and Pedro Gil were free of obstructions.
To show that he meant business, Domagoso was in Divisoria on Wednesday morning. Using a megaphone, he reminded the vendors not to give money to any government official, even barangay leaders, in exchange for letting them ply their trade.
Hours after he left, however, vendors like Anna Olivar, 29, and Haslim Casin, were back on the sidewalk. Both said they believed Domagoso meant well but they needed to earn a living.
Casin, who voted for the new mayor, said the clearing operations were not a surprise, adding that all the city’s previous chief executives had done it at the start of their terms.
Saying he had five children to feed, Casin said he was hoping that the city government would provide vendors like him with a small space so that they could earn a living without shelling out bribes.
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