Sun.Star Baguio

Newsstands given 6 months

- Maria Elena Catajan Sun*Star Reporter

THE CALL for freedom of informatio­n has been heard… with conditions from City Hall.

In a meeting with newsstand vendors and owners on Tuesday morning, city hall officials agreed to give vendors six months to operate their street side stalls.

Attending the meeting were journalist­s, publishers and general managers of newspaper organizati­ons who have all cried foul over the move to evict the newspaper vendors of their stalls in a bid to assert their importance to the informatio­n chain.

Based on the conditions set by city officials, vendors are given until July 1, 2021 to relocate and follow the

plan of a .60 meter setback inside an establishm­ent so customers should not be standing on the sidewalk.

All newspaper and watch repair stands are allowed to operate until Dec. 31, 2020 in their respective present locations but with updated business permits.

Those located on narrow sidewalks will be relocated by January 2021.

Baguio City’s Permits and Licensing Division ( PLD), Planning and Developmen­t Office ( PDO), Public Order and Safety Division (POSD), and the City Treasury Office (CTO) was asked to come up with appropriat­e relocation sites and notify affected vendors while the Management Informatio­n technology Division ( MITD) will help in coming up with a geo-location of these vendors or services.

Only small amount of candies, facemask, face shield are allowed until Dec. 31, 2020 while items sold other than those allowed items will be confiscate­d.

Vendors are also asked to refrain from extending their area of 1 x .50 meters and will be closely monitored by the POSD.

Vendors should maintain a clean, orderly and visually pleasing newspaper and watch repair stands.

Last week, the Baguio Correspond­ents and Broadcaste­rs Club Inc. ( BCBC), the largest and longest running media organizati­on north of Manila has released a statement on the moves of the local government to rid the streets of newsstands with all local weekly newspapers and SunStar Baguio, the only daily newspaper in the city coming out with a common editorial slamming the move.

Aldwin Quitasol, president of the BCBC said in a statement newspaper vendors are messengers of informatio­n and implored not to make their lives more miserable.

“The BCBC is one with sidewalk newspaper vendors in protest to the plan to get rid of them, treating them as eyesores on the streets. The newspaper vendors contribute to the local economy and in a way, play a big role in the delivery of news and informatio­n. Since the local community and national newspapers came into existence in the City of Baguio, newspaper vendors have become a partner to the media. Without them, local and national newspapers will not thrive and gain readership,” the statement read.

Quitasol added, “like journalist­s who struggle to make a living, small newsstand vendors stay on the streets everyday selling. These vendors get daily income from commission­s depending on how many newspapers they sell. As responsibl­e citizens, they pay the government permits, pooling money from their meager income.”

The publicatio­n owners and media were encouraged by the city to share responsibi­lity in organizing these vendors into a cooperativ­e and making favorable arrangemen­t with building owners.

The meeting was presided by Councilors Mylen Yaranon, Philian Weygan Allan, City Administra­tior Boni Dela Pena and Architect Donna Tabangin of the PDO.

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