BCPO: Illegal vendors will be directed to relocate elsewhere
By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
The Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO) and the Bacolod City government will soon conduct another round of clearing operations against illegal vendors situated along the city’s sidewalks. According to BCPO director, Police Colonel Henry Biñas, vendor apprehensions will begin this week.
He noted, however, law enforcement does not have the ability to confiscate items and said that responsibility falls under the City Legal Office.
“We will need the cooperation of the City Legal Office in order to carry the items off the sidewalks,” the local police official explained.
In reference to his office’s jurisdiction, city legal officer, Atty. Joselito Bayatan, said they are only seizing items from repeat offenders, adding, confiscated goods will then be donated to local charitable institutions.
He also denied claims City Legal Office personnel were taking confiscated items for personal use and said, if such an incident were to occur, he advised vendors to file a complaint and vowed the matter would be investigated.
In terms of approaching the vendors in question, Biñas said they will first ask them to relocate elsewhere. During last year’s clearing operations, which were prompted after President Rodrigo Duterte used a portion of his State of the Nation Address to call on “all concerned local officials” to “undertake immediate action to ensure the speedy and smooth flow of vehicular traffic,” illegal vendors were transferred to the Bacolod Vendors’ Plaza.
The BCPO official added, should a vendor refuse, they will be forced to either issue a citation ticket or arrest the individual.
“We will be [courteous] as much as possible when asking them but, if they continue to be stubborn, then we will [fully] enforce the law,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia admitted the city government was lenient during the holiday season and noted, in Iloilo City, Mayor Jerry P. Treñas did not extend the same courtesy.
“I hope vendors in the city will take note of this,” the mayor said. “We really gave them room.”
Last month, Leonardia adhered to requests from local vendors associations and issued an executive order allowing vendors to set up at the Bacolod Public Plaza.
Bacolod City Councilor Renato Novero, who chaired the committee overseeing the program, earlier said the program would “give happiness as well as entertainment” and affirmed the move was to accommodate vendors affected by the president’s order./DGB, WDJ