October 25, 2014     Philippines
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August 9, 2013
Kuliglig drivers, vendors slam Erap for ‘calibrated attacks’ on their livelihood

The Alyansa ng Nagkakaisang Pedikab at Kuliglig Drivers and the Anti-Zero Vending Policy Alliance said people who are trying to make a legitimate livelihood are “not trash that needs to be swept away by the local government.”

By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – Kuliglig drivers and street vendors in the city of Manila criticized Mayor Joseph Estrada and Vice Mayor Isko Moreno for what they refer to as “calibrated attacks” against their livelihood.

“The national and local governments must appreciate the fact that our vendors and kuliglig drivers are resorting to decent and legitimate means to cope with the lack of available jobs for the people. Instead of taking away their livelihood, the government must support them because it is their moral and social obligation,” Joel Miralpes, chairperson of Kadamay-Manila, said.

In his inaugural speech last June 30, ousted president and newly elected Manila mayor Estrada said he plans to clear the city streets of vendors, who, he added, are to be blamed for the heavy traffic. He made a similar remark during his visit in Tondo where he said in news reports that vendors there “spread like mushrooms” and that the police are earning “protection” money from them.

A night market, instead, would be constructed to accommodate nearly 65,000 ambulant vendors in Manila.

Estrada also expressed in news reports his plans to remove kuliglig (motorized pedicabs), following the banning of “colorum” buses plying the city streets, adding that these kuliglig drivers would dart in and out of streets.

“They also cause road accidents,” he said.

The local government said they plan to remove the engines of kuligligs and have the vehicles classified as pedicabs, a GMAnews.com report read. But drivers, in an ABS-CBN report, said some are “too old and weak to pedal.” Moreno, for his part, dismissed it, saying these drivers are just lazy.

But Miralpes said, “these people must benefit from the inclusive growth that President Aquino is consistently bragging about.”

100-day ultimatum

The Alyansa ng Nagkakaisang Pedikab at Kuliglig Drivers and the Anti-Zero Vending Policy Alliance said people who are trying to make a legitimate livelihood are “not trash that needs to be swept away by the local government.”

Such pronouncements have resulted to the banning of vendors in areas such as in Plaza Salamanca, Luneta, R. Papa, Morayta, Baywalk, among others. A 100-day ultimatum, which started on Estrada’s first day as mayor, was imposed on vendors. The kuliglig drivers, on the other hand, despite the fact that there is still no ordinance passed to ban them from plying the streets of Manila, have received reports that authorities are confiscating kuligligs along España, Recto, Taft, Abad Santos, among others.

Both groups said that as the local government finalizes the city ordinance that ban kuliglig drivers and vendors, it would all the more repress the already limited state of their livelihood.

In late 2010, under former Mayor Alfredo Lim, the city government of Manila imposed a ban on kuliglig drivers. Their protest action was met by harsh dispersal by the police.

Miralpes said that instead of putting the blame on them as eye sores and cause of accidents, both local and national governments should find ways to protect their interests. These people, he said, are “victims of government neglect that pushes them to find ways to survive, especially as prices of basic commodities and services rise and that their homes are being demolished.”

Kuliglig drivers and vendors vow that they would hold protest actions against any move that would take away their livelihood. (http://bulatlat.com)

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