Mayor Sara orders closure of Roxas night market

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 3 Aug) – Mayor Sara Duterte has ordered Wednesday to close the three-year-old street night market along Roxas Avenue, affecting some 700 food, accessories, and “ukay-ukay” vendors for violating the rules set by the City Government.

The closure order was recommended by City Traffic and Transport Management Office (CTTMO) Chief Rhodelio Poliquit who reported to the lady mayor that the vendors would refuse to follow the instructions and would insist their preference for the night market.

In an advisory sent by the City Information Office (CIO) at 2:37 p.m., the closure order will be effective Thursday, according to Poliquit. But he told MindaNews in a phone interview around 7:30 p.m. that there was a mistake and that the closure is effective immediately.

Some of the vendors went to Roxas Ave. on Thursday to sell their merchandise for the last time at the night market but they were saddened when personnel from the CTTMO prevented them from putting up their stalls.

Ryan Neria Balaga, 54, said she now worries how to dispose of their merchandise when they could no longer be allowed to sell along Roxas Ave., this being the only source of her family’s income

She said several vendors waited for hours on the sidewalks hoping they would hear a word from Mayor Duterte to be allowed to sell.

Balaga and her husband, Pedrito Balaga, 48, have been selling squid balls, potato chips, kikiam, fish ball, and buko on the street for 10 years. They earn P3,000 a night to sustain their two children and a grandchild.

She said they used to peddle on San Pedro St. until they were transferred in 2013 along Roxas Ave.

She added this would not have happened had the CTTMO put in place a clearer plot for them that specifies the designated areas for each vendor.

“Halos kada gabii na lang me mag-away tungod sa among mga pwesto unya dugay mi maka-display (almost every night we fight over designated spots and it takes us time before we could sell),” she said.

Duterte, in a media interview on Wednesday, said that revenues drawn from the night market are minimal and will not impact to the economy of the city.

“Minimal lang na ug pwede bawi-on sa laing butang ang income (The revenues are very minimal and we can offset the losses from other sources),” she said.

In a press release, the City Information Office (CIO) said the vendors refuse to follow the one-family-one-stall rule; insist on their preferred locations; there are stalls managed by “dummy” vendors; sub-leasing stalls to other vendors; and vendors who claim they have bought or secured rights over preferred stalls and insist on “selling their products even if they are not included in the official list of allowed sellers.”

Duterte said that the vendors did not heed her instruction that only one section of the two-way lane should be occupied, so that the other section will be passable to the vehicles.

The mayor, however, said that she is open to talk to the vendors.

Poliquit said if the vendors would follow the rules, the City Government might just decide to re-open the night market.

Based on the press release, the city’s revenue from the night market doubled last year, recording P5.47 million in income from the P2.24 million in 2014. From January to July this year, the night market generated P2.98 million. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)