City, newsstand owners reach agreement on sidewalk tenure

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The city government and owners of newspaper and watch repair stands have reached agreement on the businesses’ tenure along sidewalks in relation to the sidewalk clearing program of the government.

In a meeting held Dec. 15, the parties agreed that the vendors will be given a six-month extension from January to June, 2021 from the original deadline of Dec. 31, 2020 to relocate from the sidewalk and comply with the plan for a .6 meter setback inside establishments.

All newspaper and watch repair stands will be allowed to operate until Dec. 31, 2020 in their present locations but they should have updated business permits.

However, those operating on narrow pavements will have to be moved by January, 2021 at a site to be determined by a team from the Permits and Licensing Division, Public Order and Safety Division, Management Information Technical Division, all of the City Mayor’s Office, the City Planning and Development Office and the City Treasury Office.

The vendors will also be allowed to sell additional items like candies, face masks and shields, all in small amounts until Dec. 31, 2020 only.  The city will confiscate their items if they will be caught selling unauthorized items or allowed ware but in bulk.

There will be no extension of the area occupied with a dimension of 1m by .50m and vendors should at all times maintain a clean, orderly and visually pleasing newspaper and watch repair stands.

Newspaper publication owners and media groups were encouraged to assist in organizing these vendors into a cooperative which is a more viable business option for them.

The vendors also sought the intercession of Mayor Benjamin Magalong to convince establishments which are now allowing them to use their frontage to let them to use a portion of their stores as relocation sites for free.

The move to regulate the operation of these stands along sidewalks is in compliance with the national government directive to clear sidewalks particularly Dept. of Interior and Local Government Memorandum Circular 2019-121 and local laws Ordinance No. 7-84 section 5 article 8 and Resolution No. 23-1990 and applies to all sidewalk vendors.

This is also in line with the city government program to fix and beautify the city not only for aesthetic purposes but also for maintaining health and safety in view of the pandemic.

Those who facilitated the consultation were Executive Assistant V Philip Puzon of the City Mayor’s Office, City Planning and Development Officer Arch. Donna Tabangin,  Councilors Mylen Yaranon and Philian Weygan, PLD Chief Allan Abayao, POSD Security Officer Daryll Longid, lawyer Jordan Tumayan of the City Legal Office and Arch Homer Soriano of the City Buildings and Architecture Office.

More than 60 participants joined the meeting including newspaper publishers led by Baguio Midland Courier General Manager Gloria Antoinette Hamada who backed the newsboys and girls saying the move would aggravate the woes of these small traders and the publications which have already been struggling due to the pandemic. – Aileen P. Refuerzo