MARAWI CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / June 4, 2011) – Various multi-sectoral groups and Muslim leaders in the southern Philippines have appealed to City of Manila to give ample time to traders selling digital video discs in Quiapo District to relocate after authorities gave an ultimatum for them to leave the place.
The groups appealed to Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim and Ronnie Rickets, chairman of the Optical Media Board, to allow the traders, mostly small Muslims businessmen, to prepare and relocate their trade. Lim said many of the traders are selling pirated movie discs.
Sultan Datu Topaan Disomimba, the mayor Tamparan town and concurrent chairman of the 16 Royal Houses of Lanao region also appealed to Lim and Rickets to extend order.
Disomimba said many Muslim traders sought his help to appeal on their behalf. “We are talking about small-time business here where many families and children are depending for their daily sustenance. All we are asking is a little more time to prepare for the relocation,” he said.
He said the abrupt relocation of the traders and their family will have an impact to their own survival. “Many of those selling digital discs in Quiapo have been there for so many years now and they need government assistance to support their livelihood,” he said.
But authorities said the area has become a shopping haven for pirated movie videos.
Lim said he has given the traders one month to remove their stalls which have occupied virtually every single space and sidewalks in Quiapo, and affected the flow of traffic and pedestrians in the Manila business district.