Shoppers assured of hassle-free shopping at Divisoria on yuletide

The Daily Tribune | by: Pat C. Santos | November 10, 2016


Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada is encouraging shoppers to come to Divisoria Market to experience a hassle-free shopping this Christmas season.
Estrada said the public can expect decongested sidewalks and streets at the so-called shopping mecca of Manila as a result of the city government’s extensive road clearing operations during the past months.
“Our efforts have paid off. It is now more convenient to shop in Divisoria because we have removed all traffic-causing obstructions and eyesores. We have brought back order and discipline, especially on the part of the vendors,” the Manila mayor said.

Estrada also announced that he will not allow the operation of the traditional night market along Recto Avenue from Abad Santos to Juan Luna streets this December to lessen the expected traffic congestion during the Christmas rush.
The Manila Night Market was Estrada’s idea in 2013 to continue giving opportunities to vendors who were displaced in the process of clearing out the sidewalks and streets during daytime.
Instead, Estrada said a night market limited to vegetable and wet goods vendors only will be put up along Recto Avenue between Juan Luna and Asuncion streets. This will be open from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
“As much as want to help the vendors earn extra income this Christmas, we cannot allow another big night market in Divisoria. This will only cause more traffic and chaos,” Estrada pointed out.

Che Borromeo, head of Task Force Manila that leads the road clearing campaign, said the city government deemed it wise to limit the operation of night market this coming Christmas because it will be harder to drive away illegal vendors come January.
“Di pwedeng ibalik sa dati. Marami ngang nakikiusap, kung pwede silang magtinda sa Pasko pero ayaw na ni Mayor e,” Borromeo said.
“Para tuluy-tuloy na, para masanay nang ganun. Kasi pag pinagbigyan mo ngayon, mahirap nang ayusin pagdating bandang Enero, e,” he added.

Compared to the previous years, Borromeo said Divisoria Market has improved a lot — there were no illegal vendors, illegal terminals and other obstructions, even side streets have been cleared, resulting in lesser traffic jams.
“Maluwag na pati mga side streets ngayon. Pwede na silang mag-ikot ikot. Hindi na sila mahihirapan. Ngayon marami na ngang taong nagpupunta,” Borromeo said.
He stressed that many vendors are elated because sales have gone up since the past weeks; this is so because Divisoria has again attracted more shoppers because of the cleared and traffic-free roads.

Even bargain shopping malls like 168, Tutuban Center Mall, Lucky Chinatown and other stores are enjoying the surge of shoppers this early, according to Borromeo.
Since June, Estrada has intensified the city government’s road and sidewalk clearing operations, driving away more than 3,500 illegal vendors and removing countless number of obstructions and illegal structures.

The Manila mayor said time has come to clear up the precious road spaces that have been occupied by illegal vendors to relieve traffic congestion in Manila’s thoroughfares.
Estrada has personally led clearing operations in Divisoria, Blumentritt, Quiapo, Binondo, Sta. Cruz, R-10 and Pedro Gil, among other places, and major roads leading to and from the Port of Manila. He has also cleaned up the University Belt weeks before the June 13 opening of classes.