Ukay-ukay Avenue?-A A +A
Thursday, September 26, 2013
QUICK! Someone took some 'before' photos of Roxas Avenue -- rumor is, it's about to turn into a warren of jerry-built market stalls, ukay-ukay tents, unsavory eateries and, for all I know, bamboo out houses with their arses hanging over Roxas' central canal.
There's a group, the Davao Muslim Tribal Councils Association, Inc., a commercial association, lobbying for the creation of a permanent street market, a "centralized trading activity" in lobbyist, speak, on Roxas Avenue much along the lines of the disaster which squatted on the avenue Christmas last.
Remember that one? Irate store owners -- legit store owners, that is who pay their taxes complaining about lost trade -- zero amenities, the street blocked to traffic, stallholders who, despite repeated requests, overstayed their permits by several months and, let's not forget to mention the litter and filth which tends to accumulate wherever these stalls set up.
This time, the association promises, the "group swears to abide by the strict rules on waste disposal' and 'strict observance of cleanliness" and if you believe that well -- just think on the various street markets which have sprung up here and there "abiding by the rules" and the street and sidewalk vendors who have been blatantly ignoring the rules as long as anyone can remember.
The group also claimed the market would "create a tourist attraction" -- as if Koreans and Japanese are going to line up at airports to fly down and see where their old laundry ended up -- and "establish and maintain productive colloborative relationships with government agencies, civic and non-government organizations" which is prize-winning gobbledygook if ever there was.
Roxas Avenue is just about the only thoroughfare in the city which deserves the term "avenue" and can actually be held up as an example of what streets should look like. It's wide, generally clean, tree-lined and hosts decent hotels, upmarket coffee-shops, restaurants and a university. It features in foreign touristy literature -- is the city going to allow such an asset to be downgraded to an ukay-ukay ghetto? An Ukay-ukay Avenue?
If these people are looking for a permanent home for their stalls, barrows and eateries then what's wrong with the existing public markets? Up here at Buhangin Heights half the stalls of the new and covered public market are vacant but which are obviously not good enough for this crowd who are intent on the quick buck and avoiding market rental fees.
In Buhangin, the local ukay-ukay stalls are squatting on the highway verge opposite the market denying the verge to pedestrians and parked-up vehicles who and which are forced to use the slow lane of the highway and which, in turn, hinders traffic flow.
What is the City Engineer's department and the local barangay hall doing about this ukay-ukay squat? Last time I passed, nothing.
So someone please take a bunch of "before" snaps of Roxas Avenue so that we can remember what it used to look like, prior to the city caving in to profit before, in this case, the wellness and attractiveness of the city.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on September 27, 2013.