Cebu City government to appeal for return of ambulant vendors
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Cebu City government will appeal to the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to allow ambulant vendors to return to the streets with strict compliance to the city’s public health regulations.
Mayor Edgardo Labella said he already asked the market groups led by Maria Pino, the president of the Cebu City United Vendors Association (CCUVA), to make representations to the DILG on how the ambulant vendors can operate with respect to social distancing and disinfection.
The mayor finds the need to appeal to the DILG to allow these vendors to sell because the long quarantine due to the coronavirus disease crisis has placed them in a difficult economic situation.
The city government can only provide much aid, but the vendors eventually need to return to sell goods, albeit in closely regulated operations.
“We are hoping once we present the DILG, they will approve the format for the ambulant vendors,” the mayor said.
This call for the return of the ambulant vendors to the streets came a day after a viral video surfaced on social media of a vendor outside the South Bus Terminal who appeared to be violently apprehended by personnel of the Prevention Restoration Order Beautification and Enhancement (PROBE) team.
But PROBE said in a statement that the vendor resisted arrest and her defiance caused the cart to fall along with the fruits.
PROBE chief Racquel Arce said that the incident was allegedly staged by the vendor to gain sympathy from the public nearby, thus, the posting of an incomplete video.
In their own video, the PROBE personnel can be seen explaining to the vendor why she was being cited, while the vendor pleaded that she be allowed to stay.
Labella said he wants to know the truth behind the incident, whether the vendor was really violently apprehended or it was a staged act for public sympathy.
“Tan-awon nato ang whole picture. Of course, dili maayo tan-awon tong viral video, that is why I have tasked Attorney Rey Gealon and the City Legal Office to conduct an inquiry on that matter,” said the mayor.
He wants the PROBE personnel involved, and the vendor, identified as Soledad Cordova, who is also the vice president of an organization of ambulant vendors, to explain what really happened in the video.
The City Legal Office will submit their report on the incident and recommend sanctions if necessary.
As for the ambulant vendors, Labella said the city already provided them assistance a month ago to help them survive the economic struggles of the pandemic.
They are hoping for the consideration of the DILG so they can formally return to the streets, but for now, they are urged not to violate the health protocols and avoid selling on the sidewalks.
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