By Niña Calleja
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 22:09:00 05/26/2010
Filed Under: Road Transport
MANILA, Philippines—Flea market vendors in Baclaran, Parañaque City, will soon be allowed to occupy the side streets near the Baclaran Redemptorist Church on condition that they will empty the sidewalks in major thoroughfares.
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chair Oscar Inocentes on Friday inspected the periphery of the church following the clearing operation of the MMDA workers last week when around 1,200 vendors has agreed to peacefully leave the sidewalks.
The streets going to the Church has become a flea market as devotees traditionally attend Mass and pray novenas on Wednesdays, so-called Baclaran Day.
Baclaran vendors have always been the subject of the MMDA’s ire since the former kept returning to the sidewalks after every clearing operation.
“We had meetings with the Baclaran parish priest and Mayor (Florencio) Bernabe and we agreed to allow vendors to put up stalls on some roads but not on major thoroughfares,” Inocentes said.
He said he was glad to see that the sidewalks in major thoroughfares like Roxas Boulevard and Taft Avenue have been “cleared of vendors.”
“But, we anticipate that these vendors will soon go back to the streets so we are planning to give the vendors a place where to put up their stalls,” he said.
He noted the while vendors will be permitted to use some streets, a vacant lot near the church can serve as a permanent location for them.
Inocentes also promised the churchgoers that the MMDA will refurbish all streets going to the church with railings and footbridges.
“I have asked our engineering center to a draft a plan how we will redesign Baclaran,” Inocentes said adding his main goal was to ease the flow of traffic in the area.
“The people, even some foreigners, were repeatedly complaining about the heavy traffic. Some choose not to visit the church because they are afraid it will take them several hours going back and forth,” he said.