AMBULANT vendors staged a picket in front of the executive building of Cebu City Hall yesterday to call for the ouster of the chief of a team that is tasked to clear illegal structures.

The protest came from last Saturday’s clearing operations on N. Bacalso Ave., where some 100 vendors, whose structures encroached on the sidewalks, were removed by Probe.

Probe stands for Prevention, Restoration, Order, Beautification and Enhancement.

Members of the United Small Vendors of Cebu City (USVCC) accused Probe of being abusive and are not following the policy in carrying out a clearing operation.

Buot namong ibulgar sa publiko ang mga abuso ug berdugong kalaki ni Raquel Bohol Arce aron maangkon namu ang hustisya sa ka-walay puangud nilang pagsikop sa among paninda, pagdagmal kanamo gikan pa sa Nubyembre ug grabe pagpanamastamas ug kalisang nga gipahamtang kanamo niaging sabado sa dihang gipaligsan ang among paninda ug gilinla mi sa dili unipormado ug walay proper identification nga mga Probe personnel sa kamanduan ni Raquel Arce (We would like to expose to the public the abusive and brutal acts of Raquel Bohol Arce so we’ll be given justice for their cruel seizure of our goods, for harassing us since November and the oppression and threats they did on us last Saturday when they ran over our wares and for those non-uniformed men who were without proper identification and were Probe personnel ordered by Raquel Arce who deceived us),” read the letter of the vendors.

Arce is the chief of Probe.

Damaged goods

When interviewed during the picket, Liezel Gomez, 40, said the personnel from the office tossed her goods during last Saturday’s operation.

Di gyud lalim ilang gibuhat, ma-damage na lang hinuon among tinda unya mas dako pa among bayad sa paglukat sa among mga tinda kompara sa among halin (It’s not easy what they did to us, and the damage to our goods and the cost of claiming our them, which is bigger than our earnings),” she said.

Gomez is one of the affected vendors who is selling packed biscuits near the South Bus Terminal.

She has been a vendor in the place for more than 15 years.

Aside from the request to remove Arce, the vendors also wanted a dialogue with Mayor Michael Rama to discuss their concerns.

During the protest yesterday, some of the vendors went inside City Hall to submit a copy of their letter to the Secretariat of the City Council.

They want the legislative body to conduct an executive session on the matter.

Concern

In the middle of the protest, City Administrator Lucelle Mercado had to negotiate with the protesters, saying they have sent the message and must disperse for their safety.

Mercado assured the vendors that their concerns will be tackled by City’s Garbo Asenso Sumbanan Alyansa (Gasa), which is tasked to regulate the vendors in the city. Interviewed separately, Arce said, all allegations thrown to Probe are false.