WHAT had long been considered as impossible in Manila became possible.
The long stretch of Divisoria, Tabora, Recto, Juan Luna and Dagupan, long known to be impassable to both pedestrians and motorists after vendors have literally occupied them, are now passable and cleared of vendors.
Yesterday, Mayor Isko Moreno paid a random ocular visit in the said areas to check and was hailed by passing motorists, jeepney drivers, commuters and pedestrians who are now able to fully utilize the said streets to their advantage.
Moreno, accompanied by Manila Police District (MPD) Director Gen. Vicente Danao, Jr., Special Mayor’s Reaction Team (SMART) chief Maj. Jhun Ibay and Dagupan outpost chief Senior Master Sgt. Geraldo Tubera, among others, walked through the adjoining areas and addressed the vendors, now relegated to the sidewalks, with a call for them to cooperate and in exchange, they will no longer be victims of ‘kotong’ or illegal exactions.
On Tabora Street in Binondo, Moreno was met by complaining vendors who queried if they still have to shell out money for the barangay collectors.
Moreno, with the use of a megaphone, told the vendors to stop giving any unauthorized ‘fees’ to barangay officials, from the chairman down to the kagawad and tanod (watchmen), adding that the only thing they have to pay is the City Hall hawker’s fee of P20 for daytime vending and another P20 for night vending for which corresponding receipts will be issued.
Earlier in the day, Moreno smashed 75 video karera machines as he reiterated that their operation is no longer allowed in the city. Said machines were seized from police operations in the different parts of Manila.
He also met with City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) headed by Arnel Angeles and expressed dismay upon finding out that the city is actually not yet ready for the ‘Big One’ as it lacked a concrete management plan and a prepared response to other possible disasters such as downed city cell sites and mass shooting incidents as well as resources needed to respond and prevent risk of disasters, particularly in hospital bed capacity, power generators and available personnel, among others.
Moreno convened the disaster council members after a report from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on the Manila City government’s disaster preparedness stated that the city government’s preparedness to respond to any disaster was deemed ‘a total failure.