Dispelled in Metro Manila clearing ops, vendors’ plight bared on video

August 2, 2019 - 2:29 AM
Baclaran clearing operations
What Baclaran looked like after the week-long clearing operations (Philstar.com/Vamfire Arthur Ocampo Naños)

The clearing operations in the commercial district of Baclaran conducted this week was deemed successful at the expense of vendors’ livelihood.

Some Filipinos inferred this based on a video from The Philippine Star that showed a female vendor telling members of the Metro Manila Development Authority or MMDA of their plight.

The news outlet first posted it on July 30. It immediately made rounds more than a thousand times after.

In the one-minute clip, the woman rants against MMDA officials for being too harsh in stripping them of their only means of living.

“Pakinggan niyo naman kami. Hindi kami basura. Tao rin kami, naghahanap-buhay. Papaalisin niyo kami, bigyan niyo naman kami ng pwesto na maayos,” the woman said.

Another person is heard saying they were not even given a chance to pack up their wares and leave.

A group of vendors staged a protest against the city government which has not presented plans for relocation.

Twitter user Jethro Malimata said the message of the video should be enough to spark awareness on the circumstances that led poor Filipinos to illegal businesses.

“People are quick to comment about them being ‘illegal’ or ‘wrong’ but fail to understand that the rules that make them illegal should be the same law providing them with adequate livelihood,” Malimata said.

“We cannot continue to set aside fellow human beings as eye sores and obstructions. We ought to recognize their actions as responses to a government that cannot protect their welfare,” he added.

Award-winning poet Shakira Sison also gave her two cents worth on the lack of alternate plans for those affected by clearing activities.

“So we take away the livelihood of the people who make an honest living, and when they’re forced to steal or deal/use drugs, we kill them,” Sison said.

Similar to Quiapo and Divisoria, Baclaran has also been a known street market and home to informal hawkers selling affordable goods in the south of Metro Manila.

However, most peddlers take up the sidewalks and parts of the roads in the district, causing road congestion.

Photos of a clean and passable Baclaran surfaced after a week-long clearing, earning praises from many Filipinos online.

Part of the quick fix

Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez said on Facebook that the recent activities heed President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive concerning the traffic problem in Metro Manila.

It was made in partnership with Pasay City Mayor Imelda Calixto-Rubiano and MMDA Chairperson Danilo Lim.

“Ang clearing operation po na ito ay hindi upang pagbawalan ang ating mamamayan na mag negosyo dito po sa ating lungsod, kundi ipatupad po ang disiplina na nararapat upang mapanatili ang kalinisan alinsunod po sa layunin ng ating mahal na Pangulo ng Pilipinas, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte at pamahalaang lokal ng lungsod ng Parañaque,” Olivarez said.

July 30, 2019Tuloy-tuloy po ang clearing operation na isinasagawa po natin sa atin pong Barangay Baclaran at sa iba't…

Posted by Mayor Edwin Olivarez on Tuesday, July 30, 2019


Among the streets cleaned were LRT Edsa, Aguara and GG Cruz. The clearing activities also included the removal of illegal structures and vehicles.

Earlier this week, members of the Metro Manila Council, including Olivarez and Rubiano, were given 45 days to think of short-term solutions to ease the worsening traffic.