The city government of Manila clarified Friday it no longer allows vendors to operate in any part of the two-kilometer stretch of the Baywalk along Roxas Boulevard.
Lawyer Fortune Mayuga, chief of the city’s Bureau of Permits, pointed this out after a group of 30 vendors, staged a protest rally at the headquarters of the Manila Police District to complain about the alleged extortion activities of several Ermita-based policemen.
“If they say they’re from Baywalk, which they claim they were, the city has not issued, last year or this year, permits to vendors because the Mayor [Joseph Estrada] doesn’t allow it,” Mayuga said.
“We do not allow vendors in any park. Baywalk is considered a park, so we don’t know what they are saying about having a permit,” she stressed.
The vendors claimed they paid P1,500 for a hawker’s permit signed by no less than Estrada, which Mayuga dismissed as spurious.
The entire Manila portion of Roxas Boulevard, Mayuga stressed, is a vendor-free zone.
The protesters, led by the urban poor group Kadamay Manila and United Vendors Alliance, also do not have a rally permit and they did not apply for one, he added.
While leaving the investigation of the extortion charges to the MPD, Mayuga said last Tuesday’s “assembly” of the protesting vendors would make it illegal.
“They don’t have a rally permit and we never received any single application from them,” Mayuga added. “Regardless if their accusation is true or not, we really have no idea who’s giving them permits.”
The vendors said several members of the MPD-Ermita Station had been forcing them to pay P100 to P200 daily, threatening to drive them away if they refuse to do so.
They identified the officers allegedly involved in the racket as SPO2 Marvin Velasquez, SPO2 Romel Santos Alfaro, PO3 John Gaviola David, PO3 Leo De Jos, and PO2 Romeo Rosini Jr.