We will go hungry — Sto. Niño vendors affected by Quincentennial Celebrations
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The vendors whose daily sustenance is reliant on their day-to-day profit will be the silent sufferers through the grand celebration of the First Baptism in the country.
In their eyes, they will be the collateral damage for the city’s commemoration of a historic event 500 years ago.
The Sto. Niño vendors of D. Jakosalem Street, P. Zamora Street, and Basilica grounds, will not be allowed to sell for one day on April 14, 2021.
Although all vendors will comply with the mandate of the Prevention, Restoration, Order, Beautification, and Enhancement (PROBE) team, they said that losing a day’s earning will only make them suffer even more.
“Wala miy mahimo kay mao man ilang gilagda sa amoa. Motuman mi pero paet gyod among kahimtang,” said a 52-year-old vendor from D. Jakosalem Street.
She said that while some vendors will not be affected because they are employing an alternate scheduling system, others will lose two days’ worth of selling time.
Those who are scheduled to sell on Wednesday will have to wait for Friday until they can sell again.
“Siempre dili nalang mi mopalag kay ila man mi gigunitan sa liog,” said the vendor.
The vendor is referring to a document they were asked to sign by PROBE allowing them to sell goods at the Basilica vicinity as long as they follow the regulations of the city government.
Failing to follow any regulation would mean they lose their stalls.
PROBE said this was only to regulate them since selling on the sidewalks is a privilege given to them when no vendors can sell at sidewalks on most roads in the city.
For the vendors, the activity is a cause for suffering rather than a celebration for them as they may end up deeper in debt just to survive a day without earnings.
Another vendor said that the city government seems to brush them aside all the time and seems unfazed by their sufferings.
“Paet kaayo ning gobyernoha. Bisan unsaon namog reklamo, dili mi paminawon. Among gusto raman unta makabaligya. Maayo untag naa silay ipakaon namo,” said the 57-year-old female vendor.
Despite her complaints, she said she has no choice but to follow because she does not want to lose her stall.
Yet not all vendors are bothered by the celebrations.
Lucille Murillo, the secretary of vendor associations in the area said they understand that such activity is only once in a lifetime and they must also do their share to make it possible.
“Naa man sad guy pandemic so nakasabot ra mi. Pahulay lang usa ta,” she said.
Similarly, a candle vendor, Charito Abuhat, 52, said she entrusts her needs to the Señor Sto. Niño.
She said that a private organization also distributed bags of rice to them and this would help her family sustain for the day.
“Lisod man pero sakripisyo lang ta. Kausa raman sad ni,” she added.
The vendors have no choice but to follow the mandate after PROBE made it clear that anyone selling tomorrow will lose their stalls.
PROBE head, Racquel Arce said starting midnight of April 14, 2021, they will already monitor the stalls and ambulant vendors in the vicinity.
Vendors will be allowed to return on April 15, 2021. /rcg
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