News stand owners and the city’s business licensing office are set to meet Tuesday, December 15, for a dialogue on the closure of their businesses by December 20.
Licensing officer Allan Abayao sent the invitation Thursday to both news stand owners and media organizations for the 9AM dialogue on Tuesday, the Public Information Office — Baguio reported, “to explain the issue with city engineer and city planning and development coordinator.
In a message, Baguio Correspondents and Broadcasters Club president Aldwin Quitasol said that the Baguio – Benguet media join news stand owners in a protest to rid city streets of newspaper stalls.
While newspaper vendors, the BCBC noted, contribute to local economy, they too “play a big role in the delivery of news and information.”
He added: “Without them, local and national newspapers will not thrive and gain readership.
“ The licensing office said that news stand owners should place their product inside establishments of business owners.
Quitasol added that these vendors earn little and would not be able to pay whatever rent they will pay for use of space.
Quitasol said that he is afraid that if the government pushes through with this, most of the newspaper vendors will stop selling newspapers and when they do, the chain of information to the public will now be cut. “
He added: “For decades, newspaper vendors have proven to be essential to the flow of news and information.”
Jane Gonzales, who sells newspapers in front of the Sunshine Grocery said that a similar call was made during the time of mayor Luis Lardizabal which was opposed by their group.
“Dagdag pahirap sa amin ito. Konti na nga lang kita (It will make our lives even more miserable. We only make a little),” she explained.
“Newspapering is different now. We only get so much (showing her hand) to sell, because it is difficult to sell the newspapers due to technology,” she said.
In the early 80s, Gonzales was one of the biggest newspaper vendors in the city when she used to get 100 pieces of Manila Bulletin on regular day, as well as 50 each of the both defunct Daily Express and Times Journal, which increases to 100 and 75 each during Sundays.
The numbers swell to 150 and 75 each on Sundays when income from the previous paper was P0.75 or about P112.50 if she sells all the Bulletin. Peso to a dollar at that time was P7 to a buck.
Comics was at its most popular then too, while magazines were also sellable. Gonzales could easily make P300 on Sundays.
Today, many of the newspaper vendors sell other staff including candies as well as Christmas wrapper to be able to make ends meet.
“I do hope the city government listens to us. Mayor Lardizabal did in the past,” she added.