Anakbayan Metro Baguio condemns in strongest possible terms the continuing violent harassment of urban poor vendors by the Public Order and Safety Division following the recent mauling and arrest of some ambulant vendors in Mabini St., Baguio City last Thursday.
According to reports of some vendors in the area, POSD aggressively confiscated cellphones and accessories that are being sold by vendors during their operation. This resulted to tension between vendors and POSD.
In the said issue, Anakbayan expresses their dismay on what they call as ‘unreasonable’ and ‘anti-people’ actions of POSD.
Anakbayan said that such actions of POSD have resulted to numerous reported and unreported cases of physical injuries and harassments of ambulant vendors. For the group, declaring peddling as an illegal act is unacceptable without recognizing that most urban poor vendors lack resources to afford payment for business stalls and taxes imposed by the government.
According to King Cris Pulmano, coordinator of Anakbayan Metro Baguio, the presence of so-called illegal vendors is unavoidable due to absence of job opportunities in the city and the inefficiency of the national and local government to create and provide livelihood for the people.
“The local government can’t even provide decent employment for these vendors, yet they continue to deprive them of their livelihood” said Pulmano.
Furthermore, the youth leader added that instead of pooling the funds of the government for these anti-people activities, it is more ideal to spend more resources in creating decent job opportunities and livelihood programs for these vendors.
Anakbayan reiterated the demand of urban poor in the city to review the mandate of the POSD and the rules and regulation supervising them. They noted that the absence of concrete laws that regulates POSD allows their unrestricted, atrocious, and brutal campaign against the vendors and urban poor. It can be noted that Oscar Caranto, an ambulant vendor, died because of physical assault inflicted by the 7 members of POSD last year.
Moreover, it is expected that there are more incidents of physical harassment that remains to be undocumented as mentioned by Pulmano.
With these, Anakbayan calls for the unification of vendors and residents to demand for the immediate suspension of the anti-peddling operation of POSD.
For reference KING CRIS PULMANO
Coordinator Anakbayan Cordillera Email- firstname.lastname@example.org
Mobile #- 09061800157
Anakbayan Regional Office- #30 Upper P. Burgos, Baguio City