Many vendors were saddened by the recommendation of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7) to clear the vicinity of the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño of vendors for crowd control purposes for Sinulog 2018.
“Nalain ko pagkahibaw nako ana nga balita (I felt sad when I learned about the news),” said Meryl Ann Labonog, a street vendor selling different kinds of Filipino delicacies near the Basilica.
Labonog, 35, who has been a street vendor since she was 20 years old, is concerned because this is her only means of livelihood.
“Walay trabaho akong bana. Ako ra juy gisaligan sa akoang pamilya (My husband is unemployed. I’m the only one providing for the family’s needs),” Labonog said.
Other vendors also expressed their fears that their livelihood would be permanently stopped.
George Alombro, a peanut vendor near the Basilica, was also afraid that he would be banned from selling.
“Mahadlok ko nga maundang ko. Akong gipangayo sa atong mga opisyal nga maluoy mo namo. Maglisod mig pangita og laing trabaho para makasuporta sa among pamilya (I’m afraid that I would be stopped from selling my goods. I’m appealing to city government officials to understand us. It’s not easy to find another job to support our families),” Alombro said.
The PRO-7, however said the plan still had to be discussed with the city officials.
Supt. Reyman Tolentin, public information officer of PRO-7, said their main priority for this coming Sinulog is not only the peace and order but also to make sure that they’re not stepping on people when they are making decisions.
“Bahin aning mga vendors sa Basilica, whether illegal or dili, sila ang maka contribute sa kahuot sa mga dalan (Regarding the vendors near the Basilica, whether or not they’re illegal, they’re the ones who contribute to the congestion),” Tolentin said.
Tolentin also clarified that they still have not finalized the plans for the city for the upcoming Sinulog.
“Once ma-finalize, ana ra mi mohatag og pamahayag sa mga vendors (Once we finalize things, we will notify the vendors),” Tolentin said.
Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña said he still has to discuss the matter with the members of the market committee.
Osmeña said, “I cannot just say yes or no. In life there are always two sides of the point, sometimes three sides, do not make any decision just by looking at one side.”
But he said that he is considering the issue because the overcrowding of the streets is a matter of disturbance.
He said, though, he is willing to help relocate stalls that might be affected by the clearing activity.