COMMUNITY journalists have backed the plight of newspaper vendors on the brink of being evicted from their street stands.
The Baguio Correspondents and Broadcasters Club Inc. (BCBC), the largest and oldest media organization north of Manila, called out the move of the local government of Baguio to rid the streets of newsstands, now viewed as obstruction.
Aldwin Quitasol, president of the BCBC, said in a statement that newspaper vendors are messengers of information and implored not to make their lives more miserable.
"The BCBC is one with sidewalk newspaper vendors in protest to the plan to get rid of them, treating them as eyesores on the streets. The newspaper vendors contribute to the local economy and in a way, play a big role in the delivery of news and information. Since the local community and national newspapers came into existence in the City of Baguio, newspaper vendors have become a partner to the media. Without them, local and national newspapers will not thrive and gain readership," the statement read.
Quitasol added that like journalists who struggle to make a living, small newsstand vendors stay on the streets every day selling.
"These vendors get daily income from commissions depending on how many newspapers they sell. As responsible citizens, they pay the government permits, pooling money from their meager income," added Quitasol.
The BCBC said newsstands do not obstruct as vendors make sure newsstands are against the wall of the sidewalks or establishments, and lamented that the move of the government to give vendors until December 20, 2020 to vacate the areas they have occupied for decades.
The move will force small-time vendors to stop selling newspapers and will disrupt the chain of information to the public will now be cut.
Councilor Mylen Yaranon said there is no local ordinance evicting them, explaining a "sidewalk ordinance" she proposed is still on second reading.
"We had a public consultation last month but the newsstands were not represented, so I intend to have a public consultation with them first before I finalize the ordinance. I do not want them to be evicted or perished but I intend to accommodate them by designating them at a wider area of the sidewalk, or redesign the sidewalk so that they are incorporated there, we can widen designated areas of the sidewalk for waiting sheds, senior citizen benches and newspaper stands," Yaranon said.
Yaranon assured support for the plight of vendors.
"We do not want you to be perished, we only want you to locate at a wider area and regulate the news stand so that there would be no obstructions. Your livelihood is important, so rest assured, just like our utility stands and posts and waiting sheds, you are just as important. You will not be removed, the sidewalks will be improved to accommodate you," Yaranon said.
OBSTRUCTION? The planned removal of newsstands at city sidewalks has drawn opposition not only from newsstand vendors but also from members of the Baguio Correspondents and Broadcasters Club Inc., the largest and oldest media organization in the Cordillera. (Maria Elena Catajan)
December 11, 2020
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