Bacolod City Legal Officer Joselito Bayatan said they had sought the legal opinion of theLegal Office of the Department of Interior and Local Governmentyesterday concerning the request of the sidewalk and fruit vendors of Bacolod City to be allowed to sell in the sidewalk during the Christmas season.
The Bacolod Downtown Vendors Association (BACODVA) led by its president Victoria Amolato wrote Mayor Evelio Leonardia asking that they also be allowed to sell in the downtown area from December 1 to 31 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. along Gonzaga, Gatuslao, Luzuriaga, Araneta and Bonifacio streets.
The Plaza Fruit Vendors also requested the mayor to allow them to sell fruits in the portion of the Bacolod Public Plaza along Gonzaga Street from December 10 to January 1, 2020.
The fruit vendors, represented by their president NoraydaSenoto, said they have been traditionally selling fruits in the plaza every Christmas season and are asking that they be allowed to sell again this year.
Bayatan said that, normally, during Christmas or fiestas, public places by tradition are normally offered to the public for use but only on a temporary basis. Since it is Christmas season, which is a very prominent and prevalent tradition of Filipinos, they would like to provide them a place if possible in the area where they used to sell.
However, the order of the DILG is still in place and this is being enforced by the city. The city is also being monitored by the DILG every month concerning the clearing of roads and sidewalks of obstructions, he said.
The different vendors association attended the session of the SangguniangPanlungsod yesterday to wait for the action of the SP on their request to be allowed to sell in the sidewalk and the Bacolod Public plaza during the Christmas season.
Meanwhile, Bayatan said that if the vendors obstruct sidewalks or passages, the police will come in to clear the area. The city has provided them a relocation site at the Bacolod Vendor’s Plaza as an alternative solution, after the clearing of sidewalks of obstructions.
About 380 sidewalk vendors are qualified to be awarded stalls at the Bacolod Vendors Plaza following a clearing operation conducted by the city last September 1 in the downtown area of Bacolod.
Bayatan said the SP cannot just make a decision since the clearing of roads and sidewalks of illegal structures and obstructions as ordered by the DILGis based on existing laws.
He reminded the barangays captains of their responsibilities to clear roads and sidewalks of obstructions and to ensure that no structures will be constructed again in these areas.
Bayatan also reminded barangay officials of the criminal and administrative liabilities they could face aside from the Local Government Code, as provided under the Urban Development Housing Act (UDHA) which discourages squatting especially in public places. This had been emphasized to them by the mayor in his latest directive.
He said the DILG continues to monitor local governments in their compliance with clearing operations and their maintenanceof roads and sidewalks to ensure that these arefree of illegal structures.*
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