Change the sidewalk vendor mentality

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Thursday, May 22, 2014


PEOPLE from rural or remote areas come to the city to make a living. They are here expected to adhere to the conditions of city living. But sad to say, many people in government, usually the elective officials fail to transform these rural folks into the city way of living. Instead the city living has transformed itself into the rural or barriotic way of life. This is true when there are a lot of chaotic scenarios that could be observed.

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To want people to change is like saying you want people to go against their instincts. It is human nature to resist change. One reason is because change means taking risks or making a gamble.

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It can be recalled that when former Marikina Mayor Bayani “BF” Fernando started his term, the city’s public market was notorious for its foul stench and disarray. A simple solution to these would be to simply tidy up the canals surrounding the market. But a horde of sidewalk vendors blocked these canals, making it impossible to clean. With great reluctance, Fernando got the vendors out of the sidewalks in order to repair and clean the filthy canals.

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The vendors were hogging the sidewalks simply so they can earn. But not all sidewalk vendors were street hawkers. Some of them owned stalls inside the market. Since there were sidewalk vendors grabbing the customers as they were closer to the road, the law-abiding stall owners were compelled to move their merchandise to the sidewalks. And not satisfied to occupy the sidewalks, many poured into the road making the streets impassable.

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The Marikina government played fair by taking out the sidewalk vendors out of the streets. It was unfair for the taxpaying vendors inside the market. So the local government penalized the outside vendors by an ordinance that compelled them to be fined. Those who bought from the sidewalk vendors were also fined and penalized.

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Again, it takes discipline for the government to be able to lead honestly, dutifully, and always with people’s welfare in mind. Developing discipline as a way of life comes easily when there is order. People want order, though some may not realize it. People want and need someone to lead them because they feel helpless when things are chaotic.

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This column greets William and Evelyn Ong, Butch Ebreo, Butch Gerasmo, Francis Velez, BM Joeben Alonso, Vice Mayor Neil Lizares of Talisay City, Job Lamela, Mayette and Quino Yao, Larry Kilayko and Johnny Montalvo, George Sanchez and Boy Villavicencio, Renato Lacson and Babes Fisher.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on May 22, 2014.

Opinion

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