(Metro News) Inocentes cracks down on MMDA personnel extorting money from illegal vendors

January 24, 2010 1:38 pm 

MANILA, Jan. 24 — Chairman Oscar Inocentes of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) recently ordered a crackdown on agency personnel allegedly extorting money from illegal vendors in Quezon City.

Inocentes issued the directive in response to the vendors’ complaints during recent dialogue held at the MMDA office with Sanlakas, a group of sidewalk vendors along Commonwealth Avenue.

“I have been receiving information that some MMDA enforcers are taking money from the vendors in exchange for protection against apprehension,” Inocentes said.

The MMDA chief, who reiterated that he will not tolerate such unlawful activities, gave the traffic sector commanders 40 days to cleanse its rank of unscrupulous staff.

During the meeting, Inocentes urged the association to help the agency in its search of a suitable space for a market which can accommodate displaced vendors like them.

“I have assigned General Manager Robert Nacianceno to continue looking for a viable lot, preferably along Commonwealth Avenue, where we can put up a market,” Inocentes said.

The plan of Inocentes is for the MMDA to negotiate with the lot owners on the construction of a market and will guarantee the willingness of the vendors to pay rental fees.

Furthermore, the agency will establish an administration to oversee the market’s daily operations as well as deploy enforcers to ensure the security of the vendors and the public.

Meanwhile, Inocentes denied the vendors’ appeal to allow them to stay at the sidewalks until the agency finds an area for them, stressing that it would cause traffic problems and might be a bad precedent.

Earlier, the combined force of MMDA and National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) will sweep away the protectors of illegal vendors, particularly policemen.

“It will finally put an end to the never-ending protection racket of illegal vendors in Metro Manila,” Inocentes said.

Inocentes told the mayors and their representatives that vendors are being protected by some unscrupulous members of the local police and even some barangay officials of a certain locality where they are located.

The campaigns against illegal vendors have been intensified by the MMDA after the first week of January as their permission to vend in some areas has lapsed.

But, Inocentes said reports reaching his office showed that some police with back-up from the local police stations are providing protection to vendors because right after MMDA clear the sidewalks, they will be occupied again when their people leave the area.

Inocentes asked the local government units to help in their campaign and to restrain some barangay officials in the protection racket so that traffic flow will improve in their respective areas.

For his part, NCRPO chief Director Roberto Rosales, in reaction to Inocentes statement, said that they will enforce the law and will not tolerate any wrongdoing of his men.

“We will enforce the law and those involved should be named and submitted to me for proper action,” the Metro Police chief said.

Rosales also said he will act swiftly to address the issue.

Rosales assured Inocentes that he is more than willing to provide augmentation force from the region and the district where the anti-illegal vendor campaign is being held.

The MMDA is currently working double time to clear all areas illegal vendors occupied during the holiday season. (PNA) DCT/CLTC


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