The Cebu City Trea­surer’s Of­fice or­dered all Barangay Er­mita of­fi­cials and em­ploy­ees to stop col­lect­ing P10 a day from ven­dors in the vicin­ity of the Car­bon pub­lic mar­ket.

This, as Cebu City Mayor Tomas Os­meña clar­i­fied that he will sus­pend the al­lowances of the barangay work­ers of Er­mita only, and not the 10 other barangays as he ear­lier said.

“I mis­quoted my­self. Only Er­mita’s al­lowances will be sus­pended. As for the 10 barangays, I changed my mind, I wanted to sus­pend their al­lowances as well but I de­cided to give them a chance to prove them­selves,” he said yes­ter­day.

Thirty-five barangay work­ers in Er­mita stand to be af­fected by the or­der. Of the 35 barangay work­ers, 10 are Lupon Taga­pa­mayapa mem­bers who re­ceive P3,000 each per month, 20 barangay tan­ods who re­ceive P4,000 per month, and five driv­ers who re­ceive P5,000 per month.

Er­mita’s three garbage load­ers will con­tinue to re­ceive their P5,000 monthly al­lowance.

Also yes­ter­day, City Trea­surer Tessie Ca­mar­illo sent Er­mita Barangay of­fi­cials her or­der ask­ing them to stop col­lect­ing P10 from the mar­ket ven­dors.

“Trea­surer hereby or­ders you to ter­mi­nate the collection of ‘ark­a­bala’ from ven­dors sell­ing their wares at the vicin­ity of the Ci­ty­owned mar­ket, the un­der­signed hav­ing not dep­u­tized any of you to col­lect any taxes and fees due for the use of any City-owned prop­erty,” Ca­mar­illo’s or­der read.

In his re­ply to Ca­mar­illo’s letter, Er­mita Barangay Cap­tain Feli­cisimo “Imok” Rupinta said only the court can stop their vol­un­tary solic­i­ta­tion.

He said they col­lect it only from side­walk ven­dors, and not from those who sell inside the mar­ket.

He ar­gued that the “solic­i­ta­tion is le­gal, vol­un­tary, nec­es­sary and has a cor­re­spond­ing or­di­nance.”

Rupinta also clar­i­fied that the ven­dors who were told to move out of their vend­ing ar­eas were kicked out be­cause of a pe­ti­tion signed by over 30 res­i­dents of Er- mita, and not be­cause they failed to pay the P10 vol­un­tary con­tri­bu­tion.

The res­i­dents re­port­edly com­plained about the wastes and stench com­ing from the fish and chicken that the ven­dors sell.

“I’m mak­ing good on the pe­ti­tion be­cause peo­ple are com­plain­ing. It’s muddy, it stinks, even when we told them to clean up af­ter them­selves, they didn’t lis­ten,” Rupinta said in Bisaya.

Erwin Piñaford, Rupinta’s sec­re­tary, said the barangay’s funds are not enough to pay their work­ers that is why they came up with the idea of so­lic­it­ing from the ven­dors.

“Our bud­get is only more or less P20,000 to pay all our work­ers ev­ery day. Without the P10 ark­a­bala, we could never be able to pay ev­ery­one who works for the barangay,” he ex­plained.

In a sep­a­rate in­ter­view, Coun­cilor David Tu­mu­lak said the con- flict be­tween Er­mita of­fi­cials and some ven­dors re­sulted in a con­fronta­tion yes­ter­day dawn.

“Al­legedly there were tan­ods who took the legs of the ta­bles that the ven­dors were us­ing to sell their goods, caus­ing ev­ery­thing to fall on the ground. Good thing there were po­lice who paci­fied them,” he said.

He also sug­gested that if the barangay wants to run af­ter some ven­dors, they should go through the process and file a com­plaint.

Os­meña said the barangay work­ers’ lack of re­spect for the City Gov­ern­ment and the ven­dors is the rea­son he sus­pended their al­lowances.

“This is not tol­er­a­ble. I can­not al­low this to hap­pen in our city,” he said.

The mayor said that the City will file all kinds of cases against Er­mita of­fi­cials and if they want to chal­lenge the City Gov­ern­ment, he would use all le­gal op­tions avail­able.

Some ven­dors, though, have no prob­lem pay­ing the P10 ark­a­bala.

“I don’t mind pay­ing P10 be­cause it’s for the barangay af­ter all,” said Maryann, a fish ven­dor.

Juli­eta, a chicken ven­dor, said they use to pay the barangay P10 a day but they stopped do­ing so when City Hall told them not to. /

I mis­quoted my­self. Only Er­mita’s al­lowances will be sus­pended. TOMAS OS­MEñA Mayor, Cebu City

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