SOME sidewalk vendors just cannot let go of their areas, so that even during the inspection, the validation team of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) recorded a number of obstructions in Cebu City.
During the inspection of the DILG on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019, the DILG Lapu-Lapu officer-in-charge Jonah Pino led the validation inspection, and he said there were areas where some sidewalk vendors returned to the already cleared sidewalks.
The validation team is composed of representatives from the DILG, Philippine National Police, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), civil society organizations and non-government organizations.
But Pino emphasized that there was a big improvement on the sidewalks of Cebu City compared to during the DILG’s ocular inspection last Sept. 26, especially in the Colon St. area.
Prevention, Restoration, Order Beautification and Enhancement (Probe) team head Raquel Arce said a few vendors have returned to J. Llorente St. and near the Guadalupe River. They violated the rules, she said.
The vendors were reported for putting extensions of their tables and some had canopies, which Arce said they had removed immediately while the inspection was still ongoing.
“We removed it right there and then so our points won’t be subtracted,” said Arce.
Despite the DILG recording an obstruction during its validation inspection, Arce said she is confident that Cebu City can pass the national standards, adding that they had cleared “100 percent the major thoroughfares” such as Colon St. and Osmeña Blvd.
During their inspection, Pino said they were not only looking at the areas where there were obstructions, but they were also looking for areas that could possibly be relocation sites.
The DILG also took into account how the City Government could be able to provide a relocation for the displaced vendors.
Pino said the clearing operation does not stop with the inspection of the DILG, but there should be continuity and sustainability of the clearing, as well as rehabilitation of the sidewalks.
The validation team will consolidate the findings they had gathered during their validation inspection. The report will be submitted to the DILG-Bureau of Local Government Supervision not later than Oct. 5.
The national validation team of the DILG will then meet on Monday, Oct. 7, to determine whether Cebu City has complied with the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Last Sept. 30, DILG Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III commended the Cebu City Government for having been able to clear the major thoroughfares in the city of ambulant vendors.
Last July 29, days after the State of the Nation Address (Sona) of President Duterte, the DILG issued a memorandum directing all the local executive chiefs to clear and reclaim all public roads from obstructions within 60 days.
The local chief executive who fails to comply with the directive of Duterte will face disciplinary action such as suspension.
The deadline was last Sunday, Sept. 29, but the nationwide inspection was conducted on Sept. 30.
The directive was initially announced during the Sona of Duterte last July 22. (JJL)