Manila Mayor Francisco Domagoso on Thursday denied that his drive to remove illegal vendors in Manila is anti-poor, saying he wants to bring back order in the city’s streets that have been occupied by vendors for almost two decades.
“I am balancing to run the government without depriving anyone. I want to respond to the problem in the most efficient, appropriate and economic manner,” Domagoso said over a radio interview.
The mayor, who came from a poor family, said he is also now a public servant and in charge in running the city.
A former scavenger himself, Domagoso defended his campaign to rid streets and sidewalks of vendors so that pedestrians and vehicles could use them.
“It’s not true that I am anti-poor. The vendors, at least the legal ones, were not removed but transferred to other areas,” the mayor said.
Domagoso even challenged anyone who could prove that there’s no longer street vendors.
“There’s vendors along Ilaya, Tabora, and Santo Cristo streets. They are there maintaining order. There is no more ‘tong pats’ (extortionists),” he said.
Domagoso said what he is doing is nothing special, as he is just performing the “normal” duties of a sitting mayor.
“All I want to do is to bring back the mindset that there is a government in the city of Manila,” the mayor added.
Meanwhile, more than 500 kilograms of “hot meat” were seized by the Manila Veterinary Inspection Board during a surprise inspection in Divisoria market.
Domagoso said 532 kilos of beef meat and shank worth over P80,000 were seized from meat vendors on Elcano St.
“Hot meat” means carcasses or parts of a carcass of animals that were slaughtered by unaccredited meat establishments and raises the possibility that the meat may be unsafe or spoiled, Moreno said.
The confiscated meat will be donated to Manila Zoo and fed to the animals.