Tomas, Labella and second hand gadget sellers

By NESTOR B. RAMIREZ June 12,2018

RAMIREZ

Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmena’s plan to prohibit selling of second-hand gadgets if the seller could not present an ownership document is one move that might address complaints that many stolen cellphones and other gadgets end up being sold in the sidewalks of the downtown area.

The mayor need not even ask an ally in the City Council to enact the ordinance because there is already a similar ordinance pending at the council for more than 10 years now that would also cover pawnshops that don’t require proof of ownership in their transactions.

Business may be brisk judging from the proliferation of vendors selling second hand gadgets in the sidewalks of the downtown area specifically along Leon Kilat,

Sanciangko and Colon but what bothers me more are the mushrooming of small-time pawnshops operating 24 hours in many barangays in the city.

These small time pawnshops cater to just anyone from students who run out of cash during a drinking binge, criminals who wanted to cash in their loots and legitimate individuals who need cash due to an emergency situation.

An Investigative Journalism (IJ) project of journalism student Delta Dyrecka Letigio tackled the problem as early as 2016 and found out that there is a pending ordinance to that effect sponsored by then councilor Edgardo Labella who is now the incumbent vice mayor.

Based on the investigation conducted by Letigio, the pending ordinance would require persons attempting to sell or pawn second-hand gadgets to present identification and receipt of purchase upon trading.

The proposed ordinance would also require pawnshops and buy and sell stores to secure permits from the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) to make their transaction legitimate.

Despite opposition from pawnshop owners the proposed ordinance survived the public hearing and then eased through the council committee on laws for final deliberation on March 2008.

Now that the mayor saw the importance of passing such measure, I believed that it is about time that Labella’s proposed ordinance would be taken out from the council’s archives.

The resurrection of Labella’s proposed measure is a test of the objectivity of the newly formed majority at the city council.

But, I could not also fathom why Labella’s proposed ordinance is gathering dust since 2008 when at that time his party has more clout at the council and he had the full support of the mayor then?

I hope that Labella’s proposed ordinance was not a casualty of the lobbying from affected stakeholders because we know for a fact that trading of second-hand gadget is a thriving business and the regulation would surely affect the industry.

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