Parañaque City Mayor Edwin L. Olivarez yesterday led city officials and personnel in clearing up vendors’ stalls along the busy streets of Baclaran – particularly those surrounding the Our Mother of Perpetual Help Shrine, popularly known as Baclaran Church – after an ordinance that granted temporary rights to vendors to put up tents in the area lapsed on January 6.
The mayor vowed to maintain the roads around Baclaran Church clean and free from illegal vendors from here on in response to the clamor of motorists, pedestrians and devotees who have been complaining that vendors have occupied virtually all streets and sidewalks in the popular bargain shopping district, particularly Redemptorist Road, Quirino Avenue and the Roxas Boulevard service road fronting the church.
“The clearing and maintenance of the roads around Baclaran Church will now be an ongoing operation of the city government,” the mayor said.
“We will make sure that the streets here are always passable and accessible for the thousands of devotees and the general public who go to Baclaran every day.”
Mayor Olivarez, who personally supervised the clearing operations, vowed to find a permanent solution to the decades-old problem of illegal vendors in Baclaran, one of the country’s top pilgrimage and bargain shopping destinations whose streets have “disappeared” after being occupied by thousands of vendors wanting to cash in on the tremendous foot traffic in the area.
He said he has met with new Baclaran Barangay Chairman Dullio “Dondon” Cailles to find an alternative site for the vendors, particularly those who are Parañaque residents.
The mayor said negotiations are already ongoing with the owners of a possible site for a flea market where the affected vendors could be relocated.
“We will find a long-term, viable solution to this problem,” Mayor Olivarez said.
“With the cooperation of the vendors themselves, our church officials, our barangay and police officials and other stakeholders, I am sure that we can reach on a win-win agreement.”
Aside from clearing illegal stalls and other makeshift structures, the mayor also ordered city officials to fix the street lights in Baclaran after being informed that the street lights have not been working for quite some time, including those along busy Redemptorist Road.
He likewise instructed city engineers to fix clogged drainage pipes that have been causing floods in Baclaran, as well as to apply asphalt overlays on side streets that were finally exposed in the open after the successful clearing operations.
The mayor described today’s clearing operations as orderly and peaceful, with the vendors themselves tearing down their illegal stalls as a result of a dialogue with the affected vendors called by the mayor the day before the clearing.
Mayor Olivarez first attempted to clear Baclaran last August, but the vendors appealed that they be allowed to stay until the end of the Christmas holidays.
The City Council subsequently passed an ordinance allowing a Christmas flea market in the area until January 6, the Feast of the Epiphany, which signals the end of the Yuletide season.