AS MUCH as they wanted to follow the sanitary and environmental protection guidelines set by the City Government, the food vendors of the Roxas Night Market find it difficult to implement for economic reasons and stall limitations.
Merna Umpad, a staff of one of the food vendors, said they struggled to implement the suggestion of using banana leaves because of its limited supply in the market.
She said paper plates, on the other hand, are expensive.
“Ang ilang patakaran, kaya gud namo kaya lang mahutdan mi og dahon sa palengke labi na gi-require nila ang dahon, tanan vendors diri sa Roxas, mag-iyahay man pud og bulto (We can use banana leaves but when we go to the market, some vendors have already ran out of stock. Each of the vendors here at the night market buy the leaves in bulk),” Umpad said.
As of the moment, the food vendors serve their food in reusable plates covered in plastic.
She said using paper plates would incur additional expenses to their meager income.
“Lisod kay another na man pud gud nga gastos gud. Magbayad pa mig upat namo ka trabahante, sweldohan namog ibutang natog P200 to P250. Tapos pilay kita namo, mukita lang mig P600 to P1,000. Usahay muulan, wala na gud customer ana. Usahay P500 (It will be hard because it is another expense on our part. We are already paying four vendors at around P200 to P250. Our profit each night would only be around P600 to P1,000. When it rains, we do not have customers. On other nights, we only get P500),” she said.
She said they can save money if they use disposables because they can use what is left and then clean it for the next day.
Also, Umpad said putting up additional trash bins to segregate waste would take up significant space in their stalls.
“Asa namo ibutang nga gamay man kaayo og space? Bawal gani mi mulapas. Kinahanglan naa mi diha sa linya. Dili na lang mi magbutang og lamisa. Tag duha duha na lang ang among lamisa (Where would we put it given our limited space? We cannot go beyond our assigned area. This might mean that we will have to reduce our tables to only two),” Umpad said.
The food vendors are occupying a 3x3 square meters stall but those situated near the canal can take advantage of excess space.
On Tuesday, October 15, food vendors occupying 116 stalls of the Roxas Night Market were reoriented on the City Government’s sanitary guidelines and regulations at Almendras Gym.
Lyndon Paniza, Roxas Night Market in-charge, said the quarterly meeting with the food vendors aims to reiterate the six-year-old guidelines on proper food handling and preparation.
He said among the regulation they discussed with the food vendors are the elimination of single-use cups, cutleries, and plastic gloves, proper waste segregation, proper attire and the provision of handwashing areas.
“Kasi dugay na na siya na establish nga regulation. Pag join nila sa raffle na inform na sila nga mao nay atong mga regulation. Ang amoa lang is reminder nga dapat masunod lang (Our regulation has been there for quite some time already. They have been informed about this during our raffling of spaces. What we are doing now is reminding them that they should follow these regulations),” Paniza said.
Paniza said they stressed the sanitation guidelines further after the creation of the Roxas Night Market Management Team headed by the Assistant City Administrator for Operations.
It is composed of officials from the all other departments such as the City Health Office, Public Safety Security Command Center, Central 911, City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Center, City Traffic and City Transport and Traffic Management Office, City Treasurer’s Office, and City Environment and Natural Resources Office, among others.