By Danilda L. Fusilero
KIDAPAWAN CITY – Theater actress and activist Monique Wilson took the cudgels of some 700 small vendors who were fighting against an eviction.
Wilson visited the group Tuesday as part of the activities leading to the International Women’s Day on March 8.
“Displacing these small vendors who are mostly women is a form of economic violence against women,” said Wilson, also currently Global Director of the One Billion Rising for Justice (OBR-Justice).
OBR is a protest dance launched by women’s groups worldwide and led locally by the militant women’s group,Gabriela.
“Economic violence is the worst type of abuse against women because economic rights deprivation will eventually lead to many forms of abuse like trafficking and prostitution,” Wilson added.
The local government has ordered last January for the eviction of vendors who defied a directive to transfer their wares to a separate place away from the “ladlad” (displace of local produce) area.
Vendors resisted several demolition attempts by the city after learning that the new market extension site was not good for their small business.
“Hangtud wala silay ikahatag nga site nga kung asa mokita ug mabuhi mi, dili mi manghawa dire sa Lapulapu. Mag-unsa man mi sa ilang relocation site nga pirte man kalayo sa sentro, mabasura ra ang among mga tinda ug wala mi madala nga kita sa among mga pamilya (Until they can give us a better market site where we can really sell, then we will vacate this site in Lapulapu. What will we do in the new relocation site if our goods will not be sold? Our produce would only go to waste. Our families would starve),” Editha Llanita, chairperson of the Kidapawan Ladlad Vendors Association (KILAVA) told Davao Today.
Mona Reyes, 46, mother of four and vendor for 22 years told Davao Today that forcing them to transfer to the new but remote market extension site would mean “hunger” for them.
In fact, she added that their second child who is now in college was forced to drop from school since the threats of eviction started.
“Apektado na among kita kay mahadlok mi nga imbarguhon nila among baligya (Our income has been affected because we are afraid they would confiscate our goods),” Reyes added. Ladlad has been the Reyes household’s major source of income for the past 22 years.
Gabriela Provincial Coordinator Jocelyn Castro echoed sentiments raised by the ladlad vendors.
She said the demolition “was a clear injustice for ladlad vendors whose only intention was to live decently.
“We are not against the objective of the city government to make our main streets attractive, but if their road clearing operations would displace small vendors, then this is a stupid development strategy,” Castro added. (davaotoday.com)