By Chito Chavez
Hell bent on meeting the 60-day deadline set by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte on Wednesday inspected the Murphy Public Market in Cubao to interact with the vendors on the plan to clear all public roadways in the area from all forms of obstructions.
To recall, President Duterte during his July 22, 2019 fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) ordered the DILG to lead the move to reclaim all public roads being used for private purposes.
Belmonte spoke to several stakeholders in the area and revealed plans to clear the sidewalks and roads from all forms of obstructions.
She also made plans to conduct possible future dialogues with vendors.
Earlier, Belmonte has formed a task force that “addresses the complex problems hounding the city’s public and private markets.”
Describing it as taking baby steps, Belmonte brushed off critics who chided her administration for its supposed inability to totally and permanently fend off illegal sidewalk vendors from public properties.
She declared that she has no intention of competing with the other Metro Manila local government units (LGU) in being the fastest city to remove all obstructions from public places.
The goal according to Belmonte is to achieve the clearing of obstructions on public lots within the 60-day frame set by the DILG saying that being the fastest to do this is not in the plan.
During Monday’s meeting of the Metro Manila mayors at the DILG headquarters, Belmonte admitted to have requested for the 60-day deadline instead of the initial 45-day time frame for the removal of all obstructions in public places.
The critics claimed the illegal vendors, especially along NIA Road and Agham Road, returned hours after the clearing operations were conducted.
Belmonte assured that her administration is capable of meeting the DILG deadline of clearing all public lots especially those used for private purposes.
Explaining further, Belmonte said there should be a semblance of balance in dealing with the predicament of the poor and implementing lawful clearing operations.
The feisty mayor who is known for her no-holds barred demeanor against corruption and unlawful acts showed her soft heart for the poor by providing the sidewalk vendors along NIA Road with free stall rental in the city’s public markets.
However, Belmonte stressed that this is only temporary as the vendors will have to pay the rents once their business starts to earn decent profits.