Isko: Campaign vs illegal vendors nonviolent, targets mindsets
MANILA, Philippines—There would be no violent operations to clear the streets of Manila of illegal vendors because “we speak their language” and target their mindsets, according to Mayor Isko Moreno.
Moreno made the statement in reaction to criticisms he was being tough against poor, illegal vendors that used to clog the main arteries of the city.
“Have you seen hitting, demolition or pushing during the cleanup?” Moreno said. “Have you seen an incident where there was shoving? None. Why? Because we speak their language,” the now highly popular mayor said in a speech at an event in Makati City on Thursday (July 18).
He said he explained to the vendors why they needed to vacate main roads and streets that are key motorist routes in Manila.
“We were very honest talking to them,” he said. “The time has come. Enough is enough. Stop the organizing,” Moreno added, using the word organizing to mean syndicates luring vendors into Manila’s main streets.
“I believe that if we were truly pro-poor, we should protect them and at the same time change their mindset,” the mayor said. “We should tell them this is your place, this is tolerable, this is not. In exchange for that, stop giving bribe to Eddie and Patty,” Moreno said, Eddie referring to “Eh di siya”, or the highest authority in Manila and Patty to “pati sila (including them),” or lower officials.
Since taking over from pardoned plunder convict Joseph Estrada as mayor, Moreno had made it a priority to clear main streets in some of the city’s major arteries in Divisoria, Quiapo and Carriedo of illegal vendors that, under Estrada, took over the roads and prevented the normal flow of vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
It was one of Moreno’s campaign promises which he quickly delivered.
He had revealed receiving a bribe offer of P5 million a day just to turn a blind eye on illegal vendors and allow them to thrive. The camp of Estrada said someone might be just fooling around with Moreno but some observers said the bribe offer meant the previous city administration could be on the take.
However, Moreno said his campaign would continue and if illegal vendors returned to the areas cleared, it would be the clearest sign that he had accepted the bribe being offered to him./TSB
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