Only vendors with permits can sell at Sinulog venue
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Only vendors with permits can sell at Sinulog venue

AMBULANT vendors or those individuals moving around to sell goods to spectators are not allowed at the venue of the Sinulog Grand Parade and Ritual Showdown at the South Road Properties (SRP) in Cebu City on Sunday, Jan. 21, 2024.

Those who plan to sell at the SRP during that day will have to connect with the office of the Garbo Asenso Sumbanan Alyansa (Gasa) to secure the required permits.

Mayor Michael Rama has also warned opportunistic businessmen against intentionally inflating prices of goods, such as water, to take advantage of increased demand.

“You cannot just (be) bringing anyone over there, especially within the Sinulog route, because we have to be careful about it,” he said last Tuesday, Jan. 16.

While emphasizing that the Sinulog Festival is inclusive, saying “it is for all; (there’s) no question about it,” Rama said regulations should be established for it.

In a follow-up interview with SunStar Cebu, he said big events like the Sinulog Festival, which attracts numerous spectators, are susceptible to chaos.

Rama added everything should be put in order, noting that many ambulant vendors come from outside Cebu City.

He said interested sellers should connect with the Gasa office to secure their permits so they can sell.

Only stalls

In an interview with Gasa chairperson Maria Pino, on Wednesday, Jan. 17, she said permits are not available for ambulant vendors as they only issue permits for stalls.

She clarified that setting up small stations and roaming around to sell goods is not allowed at the SRP, as there are specific areas designated for food stalls.

Pino, also the president of the Cebu Coalition of United Vendors Association, clarified that occupying these stalls requires payment to cover operational costs.

“There are areas they are allowed to sell, but of course, there is payment because they need to connect to electricity,” she said in Cebuano.

She said locations are already identified, though she has yet to disclose them. She, however, said works are underway to put up more locations to accommodate more stalls.

Pino said for small-scale businesses renting stalls, the daily rent ranges from P500 to P3,000, depending on the size of the stall and its location in SRP.

Arrest

Rama also said that considering past incidents where locals would sell a bottle of water to foreigners for P50, they will apprehend people selling goods at very high and unreasonable prices.

He added that the police force, crowd control marshals, and other security multipliers will intervene in the implementation of fair selling.

“Do not get yourselves embarrassed. We will definitely arrest (them.) We will arrest those who will be taking advantage of the festivity,” he said.

Article 2 of Republic Act (RA) 7394, or the Consumer Act of the Philippines, states that it is the state’s policy to safeguard consumer interests, enhance their general well-being, and set standards of conduct for business and industry.

In Article 48 of the same law, it is declared that the state will promote fair, honest and equitable relations among the parties involved in consumer transactions, to safeguard consumers from deceptive, unfair, and unconscionable sales acts and practices.

According to the Consumer Act, individuals found guilty of engaging in unfair and unconscionable sales acts or practices may be subject to an administrative sanction, which could include a fine of up to P300,000 and/or imprisonment for up to one year.

Also, violators of RA 7581, also known as the Price Act, could be fined up to P2 million and face imprisonment for up to 15 years.

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