Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada on Friday ordered the city’s Task Force Manila Cleanup to keep Divisoria Market and other vending areas clean and organized so as not to contribute to traffic congestion.
The city government has since allowed the limited operation of the night market in Divisoria, but Estrada said it does not mean they are now tolerating illegal vendors anywhere in the city.
“Of course we won’t allow chaos to reign again in Divisoria so we have to impose certain regulations,” Estrada pointed out.
“We have to be very strict particularly when it comes to the cleanliness of the area,” he said.
The Manila Night Market was Estrada’s idea in 2013 to continue giving opportunities to vendors who were displaced in the process of clearing out the sidewalks and streets during daytime.
In Divisoria, specifically between Abad Santos and Asuncion streets, vegetable and wet goods vendors are allowed to operate from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
In compliance with Estrada’s instructions, Task Force Manila Cleanup chief Che Borromeo said a permanent contingent of 90 personnel composed of 50 clearing crews and 40 street sweepers are stationed in Divisoria.
The team is tasked to discipline vendors by keeping them in designated areas and collecting and cleaning up their garbage at dawn, Borromeo said.
At Blumentritt, between Avenida to Aurora Boulevard, and Quezon Boulevard in Quiapo, similar operations are being conducted every day to keep traffic flowing.
Borromeo said the mayor’s instructions are clear: Do not allow the occupation of the city’s precious roadways and sidewalks again, especially in the Divisoria area.
Since June last year, Estrada has intensified the city government’s road and sidewalk clearing operations, driving away more than 3,500 illegal vendors and removing countless number of obstructions and illegal structures.
Estrada has personally led clearing operations in Divisoria, Blumentritt, Quiapo, Binondo, Sta. Cruz, R-10, and Pedro Gil, among others, and major roads leading to and from the Port of Manila to clear up precious road spaces that have been occupied by illegal vendors and other obstructions.
“We start cleaning up as early as 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. before the vendors close shop, so by 6 or 7 in the morning, everything has been cleared. That’s what the mayor wants, so that this would not cause traffic,” Borromeo said.