By DELIA BAGNI
BAGUIO CITY — Sidewalk vendors called for the repeal of Tax Ordinance 2000-001 that prohibits them from plying their trade in the central business district.
During the discussion of vendors on the new Guidelines on the operation of ambulant/roving vendors in the barangays outside the central business district, vendors shared that the new guidelines stripped them off of their only source of livelihood.
The city adopted on December 18, 2000 Tax Ordinance No. 2000-001 (which became effective on January 1, 2001) prohibiting vending particularly at the central business district. It incorporated all past ordinances becoming a comprehensive ordinance that prohibits sidewalk vending in the city.
Section 143 of the said ordinance prohibits any person from selling merchandise in places where pedestrians pass or in designated passageways or alleys. It also prohibits selling in any place outside of the market’s premises of merchandise intended for sale in the market.
Ascuncion Madayag, one of the roving vendors, shared that vending as their only way to feed their family is becoming more and more difficult because of the guidelines imposed by the city that prohibits them in selling and the way Public Order and Safety Division (POSD) treat the vendors.
She and her fellow vendors shared their experiences of how the POSD personnel confiscate their goods even if they had kept their goods hidden, the POSD will still run after them and raid the place where they had kept their goods. POSD even threaten to file cases against the vendors if they resist confiscation of their products for sale.
She added that many vendors are afraid to fight back because they might be thrown to jail. Under this threat vendors cannot earn enough from their trade to provide enough or feed their family.
Arthur Allad-iw, a local candidate for councilor, a teacher, and human rights advocate said that the Tax Ordinance is one cause of what the vendors are experiencing now. The Tax Ordinance is not applicable in reality because vending is considered a main source of livelihood for hundreds of Baguio residents. Even the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) issued an order that vending is not prohibited until such that there is an alternative livelihood offered the vendors.
He added that regarding POSD there was never an ordinance to created the POSD. It was created by an administrative order which does not give any authority to POSD personnel to confiscate any product or goods from the vendors.
Allad-iw advised the vendors to organize and strengthen their unity for them to effectively voice out their issues and be heard. They invite all fellow vendors to stand up and help each other specially for those directly affected. If they go individually their issues are usually blurred and they get dissuaded and weaken their ranks. # nordis.net