Our public service plea to authorities regarding “disappearing streets” in downtown Manila drew more intriguing information about invasion of the roads by illegal vendors and builders of seemingly permanent structures.
Reports reaching me have it that a “hefty portion” of the tong collection from illegal vendors and stalls on local roads goes to the “campaign fund” of officials of the city running in the May 2016 elections.
The “weekly tong” collections from the illegal vendors amount to millions of pesos, according to well-placed informants.
Portions of the protection money go to barangay (village) men and policemen, who collect them every Thursday or Friday, particularly in the 2nd, 3rd and 5th districts of Manila.
Rizal Avenue and Recto Avenue and Carriedo, Raon, P. Guevarra, Blumentritt and Pedro Gil Streets are but a few of the local roads heavily congested with hawkers.
Legitimate businessmen have complained about slow sales because of unfair competition from hundreds of street vendors who block public access to their establishments.
It cannot be denied that innumerable streets have become impassable to vehicles, including fire trucks of the Bureau of Fire Protection because of the illegal permanent structures. Criminal elements also operate among the vendors.
Last week, we reported the case of a 72-year old woman duped and harassed by illegal vendors, who actually belonged to a budul-budol gang on P. Guevarra and Fugoso Streets in Manila’s Santa Cruz district.
Her complaint was ignored by barangay and Philippine National Police (PNP) authorities.
No action has been taken after we called the attention of Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento, PNP chief Director-General Ricardo Marquez and Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada.
No place for such evil deed
We share the world community’s utmost pain and grief over the brutal and senseless suicide attacks on defenseless civilians by suspected Islamist extremists in Paris, France, last Saturday (Philippine time).
At least 120 people, including children, reportedly perished, gunned down or killed by bombs during a concert. Scores were injured.
Thus we join all peace-loving nations in strongest condemnation of this beastly crime against humanity, a dastardly and cowardly act.
Such evil deed has no place in the civilized world.
Our prayers go out to the bereaved families of the victims of the attacks.
It’s been a while since our nation has had its share of most painful and most grievous tragedies, both natural and man-made.
We beseech the Almighty God to allow civility, peace and order to prevail in the days to come, as Manila serves as host to global leaders who will attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit starting this week.
We faithfully pray for everyone’s safety, particularly our foreign visitors so that they may enjoy genuine Filipino hospitality.
Also, we pray for the safe return of undisclosed number of hostages held by the kidnap-for-ransom group Abu Sayyaf in Mindanao.
Caguioa’s got common sense
Well, it is a welcome development that Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa finally thought of assigning a state prosecutor at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to take on cases of alleged illegal possession of ammunition.
It shows good common sense on the part of Caguioa, amid mounting cases of complaints of tanim-bala (bullet-planting),” a Filipino modus operandi of planting-evidence that has gained world notoriety.
That way, victims do not have to be dragged to the Pasay City Hall for inquest, an additional torment.
So kudos to Caguioa and the Prosecution Service agency under the DOJ!
Good thing, too, that airlines staff now remind and caution passengers about tanim-bala.
This extortion racket has destroyed lives and reputation of innocent people while the culprits at the worst airport ever have remained off the hook.
Definitely, NAIA is not secure because of these criminal security personnel.
These airport personnel should be strip-searched randomly every 30 minutes, and those found with any bullets must be penalized with putol-etits.
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