On Government’s APEC Preps
National and Local Governments cautioned into violating vendors’ rights
A COALITION of ambulant vendors associations raised the alarm after it monitored moves by local government units in the metro to ban all street merchants from making a living on November 17 to 20 due to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).
The Metro Manila Vendors Alliance (MMVA) claimed that orders have been issued by city governments declaring that all vendors shall be banned from vending their wares for the entirety of the 3-day Manila leg of the APEC.
“We worry that the Aquino government will impose extra measures with total disregard for the civil and economic rights protecting the welfare and livelihoods of street vendors just to save its face from humiliation from its foreign guests,” said Flor Santos, coordinator of the MMVA
“Street vendors live by a hand-to-mouth existence. To deny them their daily earnings for three entire days without any alternative livelihood or government stipend is going to kill their families in a slow and painful manner,” she added.
Violence has erupted in the past when demolition teams of the city government dismantled stalls outside to the Cebu South Bus terminal during the height of the APEC committee meetings there last August.
Also, the Paranaque City government has been reported last month to have ordered the removal of all itinerant vendors along with an expanded truck ban in anticipation of the APEC.
In Manila, ambulant vendors claimed that they were told by local authorities that vending is banned even in areas that were remote from the routes and venues of the APEC conference.
In addition, the vendors associations reported that they were also warned than any breach would lead to the dismantling of stalls or confiscation of their carts and merchandise.
“As the APEC preaches to address inclusive growth, to the lowly vendors, these cruel measures are living proof that they contradict their own declarations. The three-day vending ban only exacerbates the poverty they intend to eradicate,” she pronounced.
Santos declared that they are committed to protecting the rights and welfare of the vendors. “Let this serve as a warning to all notorious agencies such as the Interior and Social Welfare departments, the police, the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the local mayors who threaten to impede the rights of vendors to the means of subsistence.
Meanwhile partylist coalition Sanlakas lawyer Aaron Pedrosa said that government officials enforcing such measures maybe held administratively, civilly and criminally liable for the obstruction of the right to livelihood of the street vendors under the Civil Code.
Pedrosa also reminded officials that the Philippines is a signatory to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which stipulates that “right of everyone to the opportunity to gain his living by work which he freely chooses or accepts, and will take appropriate steps to safeguard this right”.
“The Aquino government use of Draconian measures to please foreign dignitaries at the expense of its own citizens shows his undeniable subservience to the interests of the multinational companies of which the APEC dignitaries represent”, he deduced.
Both the MMVA and Sanlakas asserted that the right to gain a decent and dignified living must be encouraged and not prohibited most specially by the Aquino administration that in the first place implemented neo-liberal policies that led to massive lay-offs and the consequential sharp rise of the informal sector.
The MMVA was established in 2002 during the height of former MMDA chairman Bayani Fernando’s use of heavy-handed tactics against street vendors and is also an affiliate of Sanlakas partylist.
Joint Press Release
10 October 2015
Flor Santos 09164815685
Atty. Aaron Pedrosa 0927-5924830
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