ARREST SIDEWALK VENDORS' CUSTOMERS -- MMDA

Makati City, April 9, 2003 -- The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority 
(MMDA) said it would take its war against vendors on a higher level by 
apprehending anyone who will be caught buying from stalls put up along the 
sidewalks.

"Maybe, in the near future, we will start apprehending buyers and those who 
patronize the goods sold by illegal vendors. This way we expect the vendor 
to die a natural death," MMDA Chairman Bayani Fernando said.

He noted the MMDA has enough number of "prison buses" that could serve as 
temporary jails for erring persons.

The MMDA chief said his proposal would still require the votes of the 
members of the Metro Manila Council, composed of the 17 mayors in Metro 
Manila.

At present, the city of Marikina is the only local government unit in Metro 
Manila that has its own ordinance that prohibits its constituents from 
patronizing illegal vendors.

"Ginagawa na natin ito sa Marikina at epektibo naman dahil nawala ang mga 
sidewalk vendors sapagkat walang bumibili sa kanila," Fernando said.

He added this measure have forced the vendors to relocate from the sidewalk 
to the marketplace where they can freely sell their merchandise.

As a penalty against erring individuals, the MMDA can impose fines, blood 
donation, community service and counseling session.

This proposal is expected to earn the ire of many Metro Manila residents. 
The MMDA has been criticized for touting the use of gasoline and paint on 
vendor's wares to render them worthless.

Vendors have also raised a howl against members of the sidewalk clearing 
operations group led by Bobby Esquivel, who has allowed seized goods to be 
sold to junk shops. (By Ben Gines Jr., Tribune)

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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