In Cagayan de Oro City, the municipality cracked down on these street vendors ruthlessly and banned them from public roads. At a time when a former mayor, whom my wife also called her grandfather, was getting bolder and bolder, they blocked entire lanes around the city’s biggest market because he needed them to win the mayoral elections. His successor then put an end to it, because they were not his voters anyway, and there was some commotion in town and a lively cat-and-mouse game between street vendors and police. Time has now passed and it has become a bit boring on the streets of the city.
Why are there still street vendors on certain streets who get customers away from the commercially registered and tax-paying traders? Most people do not know that this has to do with the properties. This is particularly noticeable in the old town, which is called Divisoria here. Especially there, one finds pavements on some streets, often of different heights and widths. These can also sometimes abruptly disappear completely through a house wall to the edge of the pavement. And there is the problem. Individual plots of land extend right up to the curb edge and may also be built on up to that point. The former city planners had no understanding for pedestrians in the city, that’s why there is development up to the curb, then come parked cars on both sides of the street and the rest of the free space is shared by ALL road users from playing children and pedestrians, to bicycles with sidecars and motorela and cars and lorries.
So the street vendors seen in the pictures are on private land and pay daily rent to the landowners for their presence so that they can sell here.
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