Displaced vendors from San Jose New Public Market pleaded to city mayor Lucilo Bayron to allow them to stay at the marketplace on January 15. (Photo taken on January 15, 2021)

The city government has warned the displaced vegetable vendors from the San Jose Public Market who had put up temporary makeshift stalls along Sampaloc Road that they have no permit and could be demolished again from there.

City officials on Monday (February 22) told the vendors’ association representatives during the City Council’s Question Hour that they will not allow any further expansion of the stalls in the area, saying this will set “a bad precedent”.

“Itigil muna. Kung ano ‘yong nandiyan, ‘yon lang muna,”  Engr. Rex Bundac, representative from City Building Office, told the vendors’ association representatives.

Makeshift vegetable stalls have begun crowding out along the narrow service road to the public market since most of the city government property was cleared to pave way for the construction of a new market facility. Some city councilors have criticized what they claimed was a lack of proper planning to address the displacement of the vendors.

Atty. Christine N. Longno of the city legal office reminded the stall owners that they need to secure proper permits in order to continue with their businesses.

“Naiintindihan namin ang plight ng vendors. Pero sa amin, supposedly bago mag-operate ang isang entity o isang business, mayroon dapat kaukulang permits o clearances sa concerned agencies. Mukhang walang kahit anong application sa pag-o-operate,” Longno said.

Bundac urged the vendors to stop the ongoing construction of new stalls, lest they will be forced to demolish them.

“Itigil niyo muna ang construction kasi sayang ang pagod. Hindi kami magsasawa na pumunta sa inyo kasi trabaho namin ito kahit Sabado o Linggo. Masakit sa amin, sa mga inspector ko, naawa kami sa inyo kaya pakiusap, itigil muna. Kung ano ‘yong nandiyan, ‘yon lang muna,” said Engr. Rex Bundac of the city building office.

The vendors were displaced from the San Jose New Market on January 15, to pave way for the construction of a P173 million new market complex to be constructed by GSMAXX Construction, targeted to be completed by November 15.

Lorenzo Carbonell III and Janet Lacumbo, representatives from the New Market Vendors Association, told the Council that they have entered into an agreement with the owner of the parcel of land at Sampaloc Road as the temporary marketplace for displaced vendors.

The city officials, however, cautioned the vendors that the contract does not justify their operation as they do not have permits and clearances from the local government.

Majority of the local legislators, including vice mayor Nancy Socrates, councilors Elgin Damasco, Jimmy Carbonell, Henry Gadiano, Victor Oliveros, Roy Ventura, among others, sided with the vendors pointing out they should not have been banished from San Jose New Market without proper relocation.

Oliveros filed a resolution urging city mayor Lucilo Bayron to study the possibility of allowing qualified tenants to temporarily operate in Sampaloc Road.

The resolution was referred to the committee on public market for further deliberations. (with a report from Jeshyl Guiroy)