Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Remembering what Mayor Lim said last month -- that he was determined to implement the city ordinance against illegal vending -- I walked around the streets of Quiapo today to see if his intention has been enforced. Much to my delight, it was and is.

Unfortunately, there were still a few vendors here and there, though they no longer obstruct traffic as they used to.

The corner of Evangelista and Paterno Streets used to be teeming with peddlers right on the street hawking their wares. Back then, it would take me at least half an hour just to drive through that corner. Today all vehicles were passing by smoothly.

There is bad news, though: no longer allowed to occupy any part of the street, the vendors have started to take possession of most sidewalks in the area. So now, pedestrians have no other option but to walk right on the streets. Talk about trading places. I wonder if Mayor Lim would ever find this issue important enough to address next; in a not too distant future, I hope.

According to the city ordinance against illegal vending, it is prohibited for any person who peddles, hawks, sells, offers for sale, or expose for sale any articles on the passageways used by purchasers in any city market. This is to avoid unjust competition.

In other words, peddlers or hawkers shall not be permitted to offer for sale, in the city markets and their surroundings within a radius of 200 meters where goods are sold or exposed for sale in the stalls, of booths of city markets, neither shall they be permitted to expose or sell merchandise on sidewalks, courts (patios) or places designed and intended for passage of the public to the city markets.

At the risk of sounding like an embittered skeptic, I wonder if such ordinance can ever be totally enforced in Manila. Notwithstanding, based on what I saw on the streets of Quiapo today, I must say, "Thank you, Mayor Lim, for a job well done!"

Related links:

Virtually Unpassable Sidewalks of Quiapo

Mayor Lim firm on clearing city of illegal vendors - Manila Bulletin


posted by Señor Enrique at 9:11 PM


Blogger Photo Cache said...

I guess there is no easy way to totally eradicate the presence of hawkers whether on the street or sidewalks; unless strict regulation and enforcement of the law is enforced as well as penalties to be meted out to law breakers. What about a little Singapore-treatment?

Mukhang masarap ang tinda sa turo turo ah?

January 31, 2008 5:08 AM  

Blogger Urbano dela Cruz said...

believe me, many cities have tried. (mexico city, like us, has been trying for decades.)

as to the "singapore-treatment" -singapore is a city of 4.6 million people. -an island-city-state that does not have to deal with internal migration.

were a metropolis of 13M, one of the top 20 urban agglomerations in the world in terms of population.

"enforcement' is a simplistic approach.

January 31, 2008 6:50 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder what the full scope is of "illegal vending" in that city ordinance. Does it include. sidewalk vending? With the vendors moving only to the sidewalks - and if no close monitoring is done in the area, the vendors will certainly start inching their way back again to the street.

I take heart on sidewalk vendors. I sure know how difficult it is to feed and raise a family and how hard it is to earn each single peso to send a child to school. But then again - there has to be some law and order for everyone's benefit - rich and poor alike.

January 31, 2008 6:55 AM  

Blogger nutart said...

I often try to put myself in the shoes of both city officials and the "hoi poloi". As Rhodora said talagang mahirap maghanap buhay anywhere here in the Philippines. Be it in the provinces and Manila. And vending is the most accessible business for small-time entrepreneurs. But then, these vendors and hawkers (when unabated) are just so inconsiderate to pedestrians! Maybe there should be a time and place for these street hawkers. Some cities create night markets I guess to accommodate them. No more morning traffic so they can close the streets and then everyone can just walk and vend in leisure.

January 31, 2008 8:55 AM  

Blogger ScroochChronicles said...

I agree with Nutart. Besides, its not like these vendors aren't paying "rent". Some of our unsavory "law enforcers" collect tong from these vendors for allowing them to stay put. If only the city government allots some actual space, like a tianggehan, where they can peddle their wares. Furthermore, the money collected as rent will actually go to the city's coffers.

And btw, it's Cookie :)

January 31, 2008 9:19 AM  

Blogger Panaderos said...

The presence of street vendors is one manifestation of an economy with quite limited opportunities for its citizens. I think our economy needs to be opened up to more foreign investments so that more new and much-needed jobs could come in. Until then, large numbers of street vendors will remain a part of life in Manila and other Philippine cities.

January 31, 2008 10:31 AM  

Blogger Sidney said...

I completely agree with Panaderos.

Wow, it is almost two months that I wasn't in Quiapo (except for the procession of the Black Nazarene.)
I am curious to see the changes.

It seems that Mayor Lim also wants to close the fake diploma shops along Recto Avenue.

But he don't seem to have the guts to go after the illegal vendors of pirated software, movies and DVD's near the Golden Mosque...

I guess he is not afraid of going after an old "lola" selling some vegetables along the street but don't want to take up a fight with our Muslim brothers. :-(

To be honest I am not for those "cleaning" & "clearing up" actions.
All those neighborhoods have their unique charms and it would be a pity to loose that.

But most Filipinos are "hard headed" and they will come back...

January 31, 2008 11:59 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

seems you went to hidalgo, are you scouting for a new camera or lens perhaps? hehe. i'm going to photoworldasia tonight, are you coming?

January 31, 2008 2:02 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Come to think of it, Photo Cache, New York City has its share of problems with sidewalk vendors, especially around the downtown area. But unlike in Manila, the NYPD does not condone street peddling and thus somewhat more vigilant in keeping vendors cleared from the streets and sidewalks. I heard in Manila, the police receive "kotong" money from the vendors. And this is why they proliferate and obstruct many public passageways.

January 31, 2008 7:59 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I guess, wherever you have a concentration of heavy foot traffic, there will always be street/sidewalk vendors as well.

I just hope, Urbano, that the city could somehow come up with a more workable compromise.

January 31, 2008 8:01 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

"I take heart on sidewalk vendors. I sure know how difficult it is to feed and raise a family and how hard it is to earn each single peso to send a child to school. But then again - there has to be some law and order for everyone's benefit - rich and poor alike.

I share your sentiment, Rhoda; however, they shouldn't make it uncomfortable for the rest of the populace, either. Just check out the second and third photos. Where else would pedestrians walk in these cases?

January 31, 2008 8:03 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

"But then, these vendors and hawkers (when unabated) are just so inconsiderate to pedestrians!"

That's entirely my point, Bernadettes. I do understand the plight of the poor, but at the same time, being poor shouldn't give them immunity from breaking the law, either.

January 31, 2008 8:05 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

That's the major part of this dilemma, Cookie -- many of our law enforcement personnel are actually making money from these sidewalk vendors. They pay like a hundred or so pesos a day. It's crazy!

January 31, 2008 8:07 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I have nothing against street vendors, Panaderos. I actually patronize some of them. However, I'm hoping for an organized venue for them -- not on the sidewalks or streets of Manila.

January 31, 2008 8:08 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

The reason why they become "hard headed," Sidney, is because of the corrupt cops.

For the most part, Filipinos are law abiding citizens, BUT if our police forces are willing to look the other way for a fee, then you'll see these vendors coming back and loooking very much "hard headed" as you described them.

January 31, 2008 8:11 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I actually went to Hidalgo to get some photos printed at Fuji, Lino.

Not ready to buy a new gear, yet :)

January 31, 2008 8:12 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I doubt you can eradicate those illegal vendors fully because they will sprout once the environment quietens. But sometimes I feel that they bring live to the streets though they may be obstructing the road.


January 31, 2008 8:59 PM  

Blogger  gmirage said...

Ditto Panaderos! Also, if the rural is developed then there starts the chance of migration to lessen. True also, I think we've discussed before about the protection the cops are giving those vendors to retain their place, whatever did the Mayor did is good!

Isa pa, discipline na naman. pag sinabing bawal e di bawal...I remember by the gates of Disneyland in Paris, vendors would lay their goods on a rather big cloth and ask the passersby to look, if the cops comes one would shout and they would immediately collect their goods inside the cloth by holding all 4 corners...mabilis pa sa alas 8! (tama ba yun, alas 8 ba?) hihi.

February 01, 2008 1:07 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing senor I used to frequent quiapo haven't been there
the last 20 years i miss the place.
g.mirage sa amin sa rosario batangas
ang expression e mabilis pa sa alas

February 01, 2008 8:12 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have dismissed any hope that we could ever rid of illegal vendors. So much of these people depend their livelihood on this illegal activity. Again it is fair to single them out when there's so many underground economies in Pinas that thrive had gone untaxed for god knows how long :(

February 01, 2008 10:03 AM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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