Media coverage on demolitions slammed

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

COUNCILOR Tomas Monteverde IV accused the media on Tuesday for allegedly showing the “wrong picture” in reporting the City Government of Davao’s action against sidewalk vendors.

“Unfortunately, media coverage of these demolitions never highlights the strict implementation of law and order but rather portrays the wrong picture that the government is insensitive and callous, evil to the realities and needs of the poor. This provokes the emotional public debate,” Monteverde said in a privilege speech in Tuesday’s regular session.

When asked to clarify his statement, Monteverde explained that news about demolition of erring vendors' stalls made it appeared that Demolition Unit head Yusuf Jimlani and outgoing Traffic Management Center officer-in-charge Dionisio Abude “are villains for being cruel to sidewalk vendors.”

He said that photos and footages on demolitions show crying sidewalk vendors, questioning social justice.

“It’s a mistake. These people are just doing their job,” Monteverde said in an interview.

He said the facts that the media had reported are “lacking,” suggesting that the two sides of the issue must be presented.

“Dili man sila nag buot-buot lang kay naa man rule of law (Our enforcers follow the rule of law),” he said.

The City Government of Davao, through Jimlani and Abude, intensified the campaign against erring sidewalk vendors, who violate the one-third, two-third policy, by demolishing their stalls and confiscating their goods.

Jimlani, in an earlier interview, said the city needs to discipline sidewalk vendors and aims to organize them in a non-violative manner of positioning themselves along streets.

Abude, on the other hand, also made it clear that they are not prohibiting street vendors from selling their goods, instead they just have to follow and comply with city.

However, the street vendors decried demolition, claiming they have been occupying the same stall since many years ago and it has been their source of income and livelihood.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on December 11, 2013.

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