Sunday, June 15, 2008


These photos and video depict two separate operations conducted by the Manila City Hall authorities in their attempt to control the growing number of illegal sidewalk vendors in the city. The photos were taken about a month ago in the university belt area along C.M. Recto Avenue, while the video was shot at Plaza Miranda in front of Quiapo Church last Friday.

Many of the city's indigent folks often resort to peddling various wares and produce out in the streets as a means to earn some money. Through hard work and determination, many of these street vendors eventually become successful enough to afford renting stalls or store spaces; thus, becoming legitimate business operators.

For those who remain as sidewalk vendors, some claim they have to pay from 100 to 300 pesos a day depending on the location and amount of space that they occupy. However, some barangay offices sell permits at a more affordable rates on a daily basis; hence, preventing crooked cops and other shady city officials from extorting protection money from these vendors.

Pedestrians, on the other hand, often complain of the decreasing space on the sidewalk for their use due to the growing number of sidewalk vendors and peddlers who park their push carts right on the pedestrian walkways instead of the streets. And this is an issue that the current mayor, Alfredo Lim, is also addressing.

Nonetheless, it should be noted that the growing sidewalk vendor problem has been a nagging headache not only to the administrators of the City of Manila, but also to those who manage more affluent cities such as New York City.

Related links:

Mayor Lim and Manila's Illegal Vendors

The Virtually Unpassable Sidewalks of Quiapo

Barangay Meeting With Street Vendors

The Mayor Might Have Been Right

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posted by Señor Enrique at 6:36 AM


Blogger escape said...

this is very important. kasi minsan may dinaan akong side walk vendor at may basura ako. nagtanong ako kung may basurahan sya, sabi nya "dyan lang oh"... sabay turo sa ilog. galit na galit ako.

wala na ngang bayad sa pwesto nagkakalat pa.

June 16, 2008 12:35 AM  

Blogger EM said...

The video was a nice touch Senior! The picture suddenly came alive..and I must admit the impact is also heightened. I am a bit sympathetic to the vendors. The things that were taken from them might be the only source of food for a week for them or the only way they can buy a much needed medicine. It's the only way they know to earn money. They may be a nuisance to the pedestrian but it is far far better than pushing illegal drugs or commiting petty crimes. I do hope they will give those back to them.

June 16, 2008 3:20 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Problem is, donG, we don't have enough garbage cans because they get stolen ... hahaha! But one thing I noticed is that the vendors in Plaza Miranda carry garbage cans with them and somehow keep their surroundings clean and litter free.

June 16, 2008 5:59 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Thanks, EM ... however, the compression process the video goes through drastically diminish its quality -- it's no longer as shard as it is on my iPod.

With tenacity, many of these vendors do very well and some end up having their own establishments. Admirable efforts, indeed. But there should also be guidelines or rule of law that everyone must adhere to.

June 16, 2008 6:08 AM  

Blogger nutart said...

my father always reminisces about when as a boy living in Tondo, he had neighbors with quite ingeniously-designed bilaos whereupon at the sign of a look-out, they could immediately fold up their stalls and run off.

There really needs to be order especially even when one sympathizes and understands how hard it is to make ends meet. The mayor here does a schedule for each category of vendors.

June 16, 2008 10:35 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I have seen square tarpaulins and twine, Bernadette, that they could just pick up with one swift move, sling onto a shoulder, and dash off evading capture ... hehehe.

One needs only walk along Quezon Boulevard towards Quiapo Church to see how much the street vendors had literally taken over the sidewalks. Pedestrians had to now walk right on the streets, and during rainy days, not too good or safe to do so. Strangely, they tend to sell the same products.

June 16, 2008 11:49 AM  

Blogger reyd said...

I've seen those scenarios of street vendors sweep by the authorities in Divisoria. Actually it was more of a festive event since there is no way that the police can haul all the illegal vendors on their trucks. The selected few that they accosted(fall guys) are just for show. Isang ikot lang sa Juan Luna then back to Recto, ayos na. In between that time nagkasundo na silang lahat. And everybody go back to their own business.
But there are times that a high ranking official would lead the sweep and every vendors are like prepared to do their disappearing act, as if someone had alerted them already. Our stores inside the pasilyo would become a temporary stockyard of the vendors for few hours and in return, we get some discounts from them if we purchase their items. Madalas nga libre kami ng sinelas or prutas. :D
Life of a sidewalk vendor is really tough. Those that got lucky were able to get out of that trade and the rest remain along that border of hoping to survive a day of earning a living and be idle for disobeying the law.
But then, maraming pasaway na vendors, madalas nag-aaway sila dahil sa competition, meron pa nga habulan ng itak along Ylaya.
The authorities just need to find a way to satisfy everyone and bring order on the streets and sidewalks.

June 19, 2008 1:26 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Thank you for sharing with us your insight, Reyd. Yes, I agree -- it's not an easy plight for many of these street vendors. But luckily, some end up doing well through determination.

June 20, 2008 6:41 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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