MANILA - Manila Mayor Isko Moreno on Wednesday bought thousands of pesos worth of rice cakes and flowers confiscated from vendors who sold their goods along the Black Nazarene’s procession routes near the Quiapo Church hours before the Philippines’ largest annual religious gathering began.
Moreno paid P3,000 each to 2 ricecake vendors from Cainta and another P2,000 to a boy and his mother who sold sampaguita beside the Quiapo Church despite a 2-day ban on vendors and parked vehicles along the procession’s route.
“Nasuwertehan lang nila yun (They were just lucky),” Moreno told reporters.
“Bilang pagpapakita rin na ang pamahalaan ay may puso, pinipilit natin silang unawain. Kaya lang, hindi naman araw-araw Pasko,” he said.
(We are trying to be understanding to show that the government also has a heart. But Christmas is not everyday.)
He gave the ricecakes to police stationed around the Quiapo Church and instructed the boy to hang the P700-worth of sampaguita garlands inside the church.
The mayor only bought the perishable items, and returned other confiscated other goods like snacks and beverages with the warning that these items will not be spared should vendors be caught selling in prohibited areas again.
“The goal is to make the 2020 Traslacion as solemn as possible because it is about God, about Jesus. It is not about taking advantage of the opportunity to enrich yourself economically,” he said.
Moreno downplayed suggestions that his leniency on several vendors might lead to non-compliance across the city.
“We are not worried about our policy... We are always certain and it will continue,” he said.
“Yung ganyang bagay very rare,” he said.
(That kind of incident is very rare.)
The city’s 10 p.m. curfew for minors and its policy against drinking alcoholic beverages in public areas will still be enforced during the Feast of the Black Nazarene, the mayor said.