Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has urged Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso to create more livelihood opportunities to uplift and empower poor families, particularly the street vendors displaced by the clearing operations in the city.
De Lima, a known social justice and human rights champion, underscored the big positive impact of the ongoing clearing operations on the livelihood of the genuine street vendors who depend on their small businesses for a honest living.
“Kahanga-hanga ang ipinapamalas na dedikasyon ni Mayor Isko sa paglilinis at pagsasaayos ng mga daan at lansangan sa Maynila. Gayumpaman, nawa’y mapakinggan din sana niya ang mga saloobin ng mga nawalan ng hanapbuhay dahil sa isinagawang clearing operations,” she said.
“Obligasyon natin bilang mga lingkod bayan na tulungan ang ating mga kababayan, lalo na ang mga tunay na nasa ibaba ng lipunan na makaahon sa gutom at kahirapan,” she added.
Less than a month since he assumed office, Moreno has declogged major thoroughfares in Manila, including the streets of Recto, Divisoria, Soler, and Carriedo; and has also completed the demolition of vendors’ stalls in Lagusnilad underpass near Manila City Hall, among others.
Though the clearing operations affected the livelihood of poor vendors, Moreno reportedly maintained it was needed to put order in the city and give the streets of Manila “back to the people.”
While Moreno received praises for his strong political will, some Filipinos also questioned how he can balance his plan of decongesting the Philippine capital without killing the livelihood of genuinely-poor street vendors.
“Maraming pamilyang Pilipino ang magugutom at malulugmok sa kahirapan kung wala tayong gagawin upang tulungan ang mga vendors na nawalan ng hanapbuhay,” said De Lima.
A 2013 data by the International Labor Organization revealed that informal workers like street vendors and waste pickers represent 72.5 percent of total employment in the Philippines outside of the agriculture sector.
De Lima, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development in the 17th Congress, also urged Moreno to present long-term solutions to address the needs of the evicted vendors.
“In one of his media interviews, Mayor Isko mentioned the idea of an alternative shopping areas for affected vendors where they can ideally set up shop and sell their products permanently,” she recalled.
“I hope he can enlighten us more about this supposed plan and implement it with dispatch,” she said.
De Lima has earlier lauded Moreno for his pledge to respect human rights as he implements the city’s campaign against illegal drugs. She urged him to focus on other challenges in the anti-drug drive, such as lack of rehabilitation centers for drug dependents and the “Bahay Pag-asa” for young offenders.
“With the challenges that come with being born poor, the less-fortunate need to be given assurance by the government that their rights will always be respected and that there is still a bright future awaiting them in Manila,” she said.
Two of De Lima’s principally sponsored and authored bills, including the “Magna Carta of the Poor” and 4Ps Act, which both address the basic needs of the poor, have been recently signed into law.
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