Night market spells hopefor displaced vendors
CEBU, Philippines — On the first day of December 2019, displaced sidewalk vendors in Cebu City were given the chance to sell their wares again.
The city government launched the Cebu City Night Market Bazaar which accommodated at least 500 sidewalk vendors affected by the road clearings conducted by Prevention, Restoration, Order, Beautification, and Enhancement in compliance with the order of the Department of the Interior and Local Government to clear the roads of obstructions.
Judith Margallo is among the displaced sidewalk vendors who received the privilege to sell in the night market. She has been a fruit vendor at the N. Bacalso Avenue for 19 years.
For three months, she had not been able to regularly sell her fruits and earn a living since the city government was firm in prohibiting the sidewalk vendors from returning to their original spots. With the night market in place, Margallo is now able to earn at least P3,000 a day.
Even though not used to the dynamics in the night market, she said she is still grateful for it because it is a big help to her and her family. Margallo, who represents night market vendors, has vowed to follow the regulations imposed by the city government to prove that they deserve to continue selling in the night market.
“Manglimpyo jod mi sa tugkaran ug dili mosupak sa balaod,” she said.
To recall, Mayor Edgardo Labella announced that the night market is still probationary until January 2020 for the Sinulog festivities. After January, it will be assessed if its operation should be continued or stopped.
Meanwhile, Councilor Alvin Dizon said the night market is just one of the options for the vendors to earn a living.
“Thanks to the city government for making this possible. Pero dili tanan vendors ma-accommodate sa night market,” said Dizon.
Dizon was one of those city officials who was approached by the displaced sidewalk vendors when they were asking help from the city government regarding their situation.
“The city should explore more inclusive programs to recognize the important role that street vendors play in the city’s informal economy,” he said.
In connection with this, Dizon has proposed solutions and measures which include a research on the socio-economic situation of vendors; regular meetings and consultation with stakeholders including street vendors; and a comprehensive plan that will identify natural market areas for vendors, designate proper areas like near markets, public parks and side streets as certified place for vending, offer training programs organized regularly for vendors about health and hygiene.
Dizon added that it is important for the vendors to organize themselves and police their own ranks to maintain order and cleanliness on the streets and proper hygiene.
Councilor Phillip Zafra, for his part, hopes that the night market has helped the vendors recover for the lost opportunities during the many months they were not able to do business.
Zafra vowed to help them find a permanent place, not necessarily in the sidewalks, wherein they could sell and engage in business without fear of being displaced again.
“A permanent place where they can grow, where their future is secured. As such they can also improve the things that they are going to sell that will attract more buyers, especially tourists, both domestic and international,” said Zafra.
“In that case, their income will increase and their lives will be better for a more secured future,” he added.
Councilor Jerry Guardo said if the vendors are truly eager to continue selling in the night market even after the month of January, they must follow the policies the city government has imposed.
Guardo said night market vendors should follow the scheduled time for them to display their wares, which is at 6 p.m.
There were reports that some vendors start placing their stalls at 4 or 5 p.m. which causes a negative impact on the traffic in the area.
The location of the night market is from the City Savings Bank to Gaisano Main in Colon Street.
Guardo also reminded the night market vendors to maintain the cleanliness in their respective areas.
“If mamaligya sila, dapat limpyohan sad. Dili kay laing tawo ang magsunod sa ilang basura,” said Guardo.
Both Zafra and Guardo are members of the Committee on Markets. The Cebu City Night Market Bazaar was intended for the displaced vendors from Colon Street, Osmeña Boulevard, and N. Bacalso Avenue. JMD (FREEMAN)