By Maricar Brizuela
Parañaque Mayor Edwin Olivarez has ordered a crackdown on a syndicate led by “Adam,” “Eve” and “Jojo” which allegedly collects around P1 million a day from illegal vendors in the Baclaran area.
On Tuesday, Olivarez directed city police chief Senior Supt. Ariel Andrade to arrest members of the so-called “Baclaran 7,” saying the group’s illegal operations have deprived the city government of thousands of pesos in business taxes and other fees.
At the same time, he also threatened to relieve the police chiefs of the Baclaran, Tambo and La Huerta stations if they fail to address the “chaotic” situation around the Baclaran church.
Olivarez said he ordered Andrade yesterday to strictly monitor the vicinity of the church, specifically Redemptorist Road, Quirino Avenue and the service road of Roxas Boulevard, where hundreds of vendors have put up stalls.
According to the City Market Office, only 300 vendors paying P300 a day to the city government have been authorized to set up stalls on the service road going to Airport Road.
The city government, however, said that around 900 illegal vendors under the protection of the syndicate have occupied roads near the church. They are required by the gang to remit between P100 and P300 a day.
Information gathered by the Office of the City Mayor also showed that the syndicate was behind the proliferation of foreign traders in the area, collecting about P1 million a day from all the illegal vendors under its protection.
The money is remitted to Jojo, a former employee of the Bureau of Immigration (BI); Eve, who is believed to be a high-ranking city hall official, and Adam, who reportedly has connections with an official of the Southern Police District.
In an operation last week, members of the BI and the National Bureau of Investigation arrested 46 illegal and undocumented foreign traders in a Baclaran mall. They were reportedly under the protection of Jojo and Eve.
According to Olivarez, traffic in the Baclaran area has gotten worse because of the presence of the illegal vendors who put up stalls in the middle of the streets.
“All roads leading to the church must have fewer vendors and more space for motorists, commuters and churchgoers every day, including holidays,” he said.–Maricar B. Brizuela