ABOUT 58 sidewalk vendors at the Central Public Market and Masamart on Bonifacio Street, Bacolod City were given five days to vacate their stalls and transfer to the Bacolod Vendors Plaza.
Acting Mayor El Cid Familiaran said Thursday, September 19, the City Administrators Office already served the notices to the affected vendors on September 18 and they were only given five days to vacate their stalls.
The order to vacate came after City Council earlier repealed the City Ordinance (CO) 183, Series of 1980, or an ordinance providing for the disposition of kiosks and stalls constructed around the Central Public Market. It was signed by Mayor Evelio Leonardia last week.
Familiaran said the affected vendors should vacate their stalls and the City Legal Office Enforcement Unit will be the one to remove the structures since the area is a government property.
"They should take their belongings only and the area should be cleared on Sunday or Monday," he said.
He added the affected vendors were also given space at the Vendors Plaza so they can continue their livelihood in the area.
On Monday night, September 16, more than 50 sidewalk vendors at the Central Public Market and Masamart held a prayer rally at the Fountain of Justice to express their opposition on the implementation of CO 183.
"They invited us for a conference so they air their sentiments and most of them were complaining that they will not survive once they will be transferred to the Vendors Plaza. But the directive of our President is very clear that we need to clear the public streets, and sidewalk is also part of the streets," Familiaran said.
The demolition of the illegal structures is in compliance with the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte to rid public streets of obstruction to facilitate the orderly use of thoroughfares.
"It's given that their livelihood will be affected, but our mayor is also finding some ways to help them so they can sustain their families and one of it, the mayor will give a financial assistance to the qualified affected vendors as well as the implementation of the proposed night market ordinance," Familiaran said.
He said last week, they already talked with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG)-Bacolod and it was clarified that the city can hold a night market using the streets.
He added the city can hold a night market in different areas to accommodate the displaced vendors.
Familiaran also reminded the market stall owners in three big public markets to pay their monthly obligations or their arrears to the city government or else their stalls will be given to the displaced vendors.