Rama gets approval of Duterte on building for displaced sidewalk vendors
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu City Vice Mayor Rama finally met with President Rodrigo Duterte to discuss the plight of displaced sidewalk vendors following the road clearing operations that all local government units (LGUs) were ordered to do by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Rama said that the President supported his plan to build a structure for the displaced vendors so they will have a permanent place to sell away from the sidewalks.
“Giingnan nako ang Presidente, luoy kaayo atong mga vendors. Dapat naa tay solution sa ilang problema,” said Rama in an interview on Wednesday, January 29, 2020.
(I told the President, the vendors are suffering. We need a solution to their problem.)
Rama has raised concerned about the plight of vendors since the clearing operations were conducted between August to October 2019, since many of the vendors affected asked for his help to raise their concerns to Mayor Edgardo Labella and President Duterte.
On September 9, 2019, Rama sent a letter to President Duterte stating the concerns of the vendors and how they would be adversely affected by the clearing operations.
More than 500 vendors in the city lost their spots on the sidewalks by the end of the clearing operations. Some of them were relocated to the Tabo sa Banay in F. Gonzales Street and the night market in Colon Street.
Rama received a response from the Office of the President on September 15, 2019, but was not able to get a schedule to meet the President.
However, he gained the support of Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, one of the closest allies of the President.
Go promised to help the vendors through the financial assistance of P5,000 each from the Department of Labor and Employment.
Senator Bong Go would also be the key for Rama to finally see the President.
With President Duterte’s travels and busy schedules, it was almost impossible for Rama to meet the President to discuss local matters.
In December 2019, Rama almost fell victim to a scammer posing as Senator Go in a series of phone calls with the vice mayor.
When he finally realized that he could not have been talking to the senator, he reported the matter to Go, who tracked down the culprit with the help of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
Rama said by the time the culprit was caught, many government officials both from the national and local offices have already been contacted by the scammer.
The presentation of the alleged scammer was the reason why Rama was called to the Malacañan Palace along with many other officials who also almost fell victim to the scammer.
Rama seized the chance to talk to the President in his visit to Malacañan. There, he said the President listened patiently and attentively to the concerns of the vendors.
Rama said the President was supportive of local government units (LGUs) finding solutions to the vendors’ plight without reverting to blocking the roads or sidewalks.
“The President said, ‘Okay, Mike. I like that.’ He is very supportive,” he said.
The vice mayor said he is excited to present the proposal to Mayor Edgardo Labella, whom he trust will support the project.
He also hoped that this project will finally be the solution the vendors are looking for after suffering for the last three months./elb
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