Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada has driven away hundreds of illegal vendors outside the recently rebuilt Quinta Market in Quiapo through a series of clearing operations that began last week, as he kept his promise to stallholders.
Estrada said he understands the sentiments of the legitimate vendors and stall owners who have been complaining of poor sales because of the presence of unregistered vendors just outside the Quiapo market.
“As I have promised, I have removed those illegal vendors, and I intend to keep it that way,” the mayor said, as he tasked Task Force Manila Cleanup chief Che Borromeo to establish a permanent presence in the area to prevent the return of the illegal vendors.
Estrada admitted it was always a hard decision for him to make, knowing the vendors were only trying to make a living, but he said it has to be done “for the common good of the greater majority.”
“We have laws to follow. We have to maintain order in our city,” he added.
The Quinta Market Vendors Association Cooperative Development, whose 289 members were given permits to operate at the new Quinta Market, earlier complained that vendors outside had the greater advantage in getting customers and earning more.
On the other hand, Estrada immediately directed the Task Force Manila Cleanup to lead the clearing of the area of illegal vendors.
Borromeo said the task force teamed up with the Police Community Precinct in Plaza Miranda in driving away hundreds of illegal vendors, especially those within the immediate vicinities of Quinta Market.
“Now that place is heavily guarded. Not one illegal vendor can just return there. This was the strict instruction of the Mayor,” Borromeo said.
Borromeo said teams of City Hall personnel and policemen are working in shifts patrolling the Quiapo area.
While saying it is anyone’s choice where to buy and what store to patronize, Borromeo appealed to the public to avoid buying from sidewalk vendors as much as possible so that illegal vendors will not proliferate.
Estrada inaugurated the new Quinta Market during his 80th birthday on April 19. This is the latest public market in the city to undergo complete reconstruction.
Located on Carlos Palanca Street near the Pasig River, the old Quinta Market has been a popular landmark in Quiapo but its dilapidated state prompted the city government to have it renovated and modernized.
Estrada signed a joint venture agreement with Marketlife Management and Leasing Corp. for this landmark project.
Similar to the four previously renovated markets, Quinta Market now has modern wet and dry sections and stalls, air-conditioned restrooms, a food court, fast food restaurants, security cameras, and even free Wi-Fi connections, according to City Engineer Rogelio Legazpi.
The building’s second floor is the parking area for customers.
Also, part of the P150-million rehabilitation of Quinta Market is the planned construction of a fish port nearby, and later a ferry terminal, that will serve fish traders and barges from various locations, especially Navotas, that will be bringing in fresh produce.
The construction of the ferry terminal is a joint effort by the city government of Manila and the Philippine Ports Authority, as part of the latter’s plan to fully revive passenger ferry service along the Pasig River.