Newsstands and other stalls currently operating on the sidewalks have been given until June 2021 to relocate inside establishments.
The move, among other agreements, was reached after a dialogue held by the Permits and Licensing Division and Public Order and Safety Division under the City Mayor’s Office, and City Planning and Development Office with the newsstand vendors, newspaper owners, and watch repair shop owners on Dec. 15 following their opposition to the plan of the city to rid sidewalks of obstruction in compliance to national and city laws.
The PLD earlier gave the newsstand vendors and watch repair shop owners until Dec. 31 to operate in their current locations.
Felipe Puzon of the Office of the Mayor granted the appeal of local newspaper representatives for time to comply with the directive.
Courier Publisher and Chief Operations Officer Gloria Antoinette Hamada has asked for newsstands to be given time to comply as most of them cannot relocate by Dec. 31 with the short notice given to them.
She said many newsboys and girls and newsstand vendors will be out of business and lose their source of income, which is not much then and especially now due to the current situation made difficult by the Covid-19 pandemic.
PLD chief Allan Abayao said the extension should give the sidewalk vendors time to talk with establishment owners to allow them use of vending space.
In the meantime, newspaper and watch repair stands are allowed to remain in the sidewalks but they have to be relocated by June 31. By July 1, vending in the sidewalks is no longer allowed.
Those that are currently located in narrow spaces will be identified and relocated by January 2021.
Newsstand vendors and watch repair shop owners may continue operating until Dec. 31 provided they renew their business permit.
Newsstand vendors are also allowed to sell minimal amount of candies and face masks and shields and as long as these are displayed within the area allocated them until Dec. 31. By January, they can no longer sell goods other than newspapers and magazines.
The POSD will monitor their compliance and shall confiscate goods that are not allowed in their permit to sell.
There are 42 stalls engaged in watch repair and 41 in retail of newspapers and magazines issued with a special permit to operate in the sidewalks.
Aldwin Quitasol, president of the Baguio Correspondents and Broadcasters Club, said it is their hope the city government will help the vendors find relocation areas where it would be feasible to sell and have income.
“Napakalungkot ang pag-alis sa kanila sa sidewalk dahil marami na naman ang maaaring mawalan ng kabuhayan. Mabuti kung maganda ang lugar na paglilipatan sa kanila kung saan siguradong hindi sila malulugi. Ilang dekada rin silang nabuhay sa pagtitinda sa sidewalk then aalisin sila sa kagustuhan lang na mapaganda ang sidewalk,” Quitasol said.
CPDO head, Arch. Donna Tabangin, presented a relocation plan wherein newspaper and watch repair stands are set back by 0.6 meter from the sidewalk and inside the establishment, so transactions with customers would not have be done in the sidewalk. Space currently occupied by the stalls measures one meter by .5 meter along the sidewalk.
Abayao said the implementing agencies under the Office of the Mayor have decided to make businesses issued special permits into regular permits to align them with the city’s zoning plan, which include no more vending on sidewalks.
They also started implementing road clearing last year pursuant to Memorandum Circular 2019-121 of the Department of the Interior and Local Government which implements the directive of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte to clear roads of illegal structures and constructions.
The city also invoked the road clearing activities on City Council Resolution 23, s, 1990 which provides road rights-of-way is preserved for public use and purpose and beyond the commerce of man; and Ordinance 7-84, which provides the sidewalk shall be exclusively for pedestrians and no person or business enterprise shall use it for other purposes and intents like selling and display spaces for vendors, among others. – Hanna C. Lacsamana