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BAGUIO CITY – City officials strongly supported the earlier agreement between the City Permits and Licensing Division under the City Mayor’s Office and the newspaper stand vendors and watch repair proprietors for six months extension from January to June 2021, on the stay of the latter at their current locations to give them ample time to comply with the 0.6 meter setback from the sidewalks or to find a relocation place before the implementation of Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 2020-145.
Under Resolution No. 694, series of 2020, local legislators stated that during a public consultation held last December 15, 2020 for the purpose of extensively discussing the notice of the deadline with all those concerned and affected by the ongoing clearing as mandated under DILG MC No. 2020-145, it was agreed that the aforesaid office will give the newspaper stand vendors and watch repair proprietors at least 6 months from January to June 2021 to comply with the proposed 0.6 meter setback from the sidewalks or to find a relocation place for their continuous business operations in the city.
The council noted that important role of the existing newspaper stands along the sidewalks but there is also a need to strike a balance in the aggressive implementation of the government’s campaign to clear roads and sidewalks from obstructions to ensure the smooth flow of pedestrian and vehicular traffic and prevent the occurrence of unnecessary accidents.
Earlier, the City Permits and Licensing Division under the City Mayor’s Office gave newspaper vendors and watch repair proprietors on the sidewalks of the city supposedly until the end of December 2020 to operate in their current locations pursuant to DILG MC No. 2020-145 which mandated local governments to immediately clear roads and sidewalks of obstructions and non-compliance to the same will be treated as an obstruction that will warrant its immediate removal by the concerned offices.
However, the said move of the office reportedly caused resounding protests and opposition among newspaper stand vendors and watch repair proprietors, the ranks of the local media practitioners and the general public as the same which are unique sites and identity of the city have been considered part of the spirit that defines the soul of the city as a whole.
The body urged concerned offices to continue consulting with the affected newspaper stand vendors and watch repair proprietors on alternatives that can be allowed to ensure their continuous operations without being unjustly displaced as they have to sustain their sources of livelihood which were not spared from the heavy impact of the prevailing Corona Virus Disease (COVID) pandemic.
Moreover, the newspaper stand vendors and the watch repair proprietors did earn during the implementation of the lockdown and general community quarantine because of the strict enforcement of the basic health and safety protocols, thus, the need for the city to be considerate on their plight to allow them to recover from the impact of the pandemic to their established sources of livelihood for their families.
By Dexter A. See