The city government’s road-clearingoperation since July has resulted to the relocation of 245 downtown sidewalkvendors to the vacant lot owned by the Cacho family along the downtown streetof JM Basa, said Niel Dichupa, president of the city’s sidewalk vendor. Photo by Ian Paul Cordero/PN The director said his office iscontinuously monitoring road clearing operations of all local government units. “I want to know how the citygovernment manages the traffic situation there,” said Defensor. “Kay ti ara sila sa atubang sang capitolpero indi na ina aton jurisdiction ang traffic.” For his part, Director Ariel Iglesiaof the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Region 6 reiteratedyesterday President Rodrigo Duterte’s order for local chief executives toreclaim public roads and sidewalks being used for private ends. But there are an estimated 1,500sidewalk vendors across the city. According to Defensor yesterday, hewould be getting in touch with Iloilo City’s Mayor Jerry Treñas about thevendors. “Hindipuwedeng balikan,” stressedIglesia, although he acknowledged that sidewalk vending is the main livelihoodof vendors, particularly in Iloilo City. Iglesia had observed that some vendorswho were removed from sidewalks have started returning. Not a few people, including provincialgovernment employees, have complained about the traffic congestion caused bythese vendors. Last month, 13 vendors were arrestedfor returning to sidewalks. Personnel of the city government’s Public Safetyand Transportation Management Office also confiscated their tables and chairs.Their merchandize, however, were spared. The vendors were spotted on thesidewalks of Ledesma, JM Basa, Rizal, and Jalandoni streets./PN Who gave permission to these vendors? “We left them with a warning. If theyreturn to the sidewalks again we will seize everything they have,” said PSTMOchief Jeck Conlu. He wanted to make sure the capitolgrounds remain free of trash such as plastic food wrappers and plastic bottles,among others. The governor also said one of the“house rules” he issued recently to people visiting the capitol to view the Christmaslights was a prohibition on itinerant vendors. “We stand by the policy of thedepartment. All public roads and public spaces are for public use, they arebeyond the commerce of man,” said Iglesia, citing DILG Memorandum Circular121-2019. Gov. Arthur Defensor Jr. denied givinghis blessing to the vendors. The sidewalk and street surroundingthe capitol are not jurisdictions of the provincial government, he explained. ILOILO City – From late afternoonuntil early evening for some three weeks now, the sidewalk and a portion of thestreet in front of the provincial capitol are being occupied by vendors despitethe city government’s campaign to clear streets and sidewalks of obstructions. He also said his office is poised torelease a reminder to local government units about it. From what he had gathered, said the governor,the vendors started flocking the capitol sidewalk and portion of BonifacioDrive on Dec. 2 after the provincial government switched on its Christmaslights and unveiled the newly redeveloped capitol grounds.