Biyernes, Nobyembre 15, 2013
MMVA observes International Street Vendors Day
Metro Manila Vendors Alliance
November 14, 2013
MMVA on International Street Vendors Day:
SELLING GOODS IN THE STREETS IS NOT A CRIME!
The Metro Manila Vendors Alliance (MMVA) joins the nation and street vendors around the world in celebrating the International Street Vendors Day this November 14.
The International Street Vendors Day was declared by StreetNet International, a global collective of street vendor organizations working in Latin America, Africa and Asia, during its 10th year anniversary on November 14, 2012. StreetNet was formally launched in Durban, South Africa, in November 14, 2002, two-and-a-half months after MMVA was conceived on August 30, 2002.
We commemorate those who sacrifice their life and limbs in defending their livelihood and those who continue to fight for the rights of vendors to be recognized, respected and protected. We celebrate because somehow street vendors in many parts of the world are now recognized as human beings with rights like the other sectors in the community.
When we were organized as Metro Manila Vendors Alliance in 2002, vendors in Metro Manila were treated like criminals. Street vendors, besieged by a war declared by Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Bayani Fernando to clear city sidewalks, convened a historic summit on August 30, 2002 at the University of the Philippines church in Quezon City to establish the Metro Manila Vendors Alliance (MMVA). Fernando's campaign, such as destroying stalls and sprinkling of gas at vegetables, fruits and goods to drive away vendors, has deprived vendors of their only honest means of livelihood, and vendors have to fight to survive. Vendors called Fernando a "Hitler" due to his tactics of putting fire to confiscated goods from the vendors without properly documenting them.
In our manifesto during that summit, we said: "For poor people like us, sidewalk vending is an economic necessity not a travesty of laws. We are not criminals. We find it more detestable to see our government selling all its properties to foreign and private corporations than to see ordinary people selling their merchandise in the streets at a bargain price."
Two congressmen even delivered speeches in the House of Representatives against human rights violations of street vendors' right to live and right to livelihood. Rep. Augusto "Boboy" Syjuco, from Iloilo 2nd district, delivered his privilege speech entitled "Fuel for the Fire: Kerosene for a Filipino Holocaust" on August 21, 2002. Sanlakas partylist Representative JV Bautista delivered his privilege speech entitled "Maliliit na Manininda ng Kamaynilaan: Dapat bang Kamuhian o Dapat Tulungan? (Street Vendors in Metro Manila: Should be Despised or Should be Helped?), October 8, 2003. Rep. Bautista said in his speech: "From July 2002 up to now, Mr. Speaker, the Metro Manila Vendors Alliance has recorded untold cases of physical assault from MMDA operatives ranging from harassment to extreme use of force that resulted to serious physical injuries to the death of three vendors."
We, street vendors, are also workers. Maybe you may call us as informal workers, because we are not working in a factory, but we work through selling in the streets. We work in our own way in order that our children eat three times a day, and because we are not employed by anyone. We sell food and other wares in the streets. Many vendors are women, mothers of three to five children. We vendors are also victims, because of kotong, or giving money to cops everyday for our protection. We vendors are informal workers with the same right like other sectors of society that should be given or have access to social protection by the state. Eleven years have passed, and Fernando was gone after the presidential election in 2010, but the street vendors have to continue to fight for their right to honestly earn their living.
As we celebrate the International Street Vendors Day with other street vendors in other parts of the world, the MMVA is one with them in solidarity in fighting for a decent living and social protection, and should be allowed to exercise our collective and individual economic rights, as written in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). We also hope that MMVA became a part of the Asia level Alliance of Street Vendors which the National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) is organizing.
Mabuhay ang mga maliliit na manininda! Mabuhay ang Metro Manila Vendors Alliance! Mabuhay ang pagdiriwang ng International Street Vendors Day!