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BLIND SPOT: My Sidewalks are Back

They took away the sidewalks. This was my initial thought when they set up flea markets around Plaza Rizal. We were wondering what the structures were for. Someone commented that they were for the traditional fiesta bazaars. But it was a bit too early; not considering that the fiesta season will be relatively earlier this year. It later turned out that the comment was correct. But then I would later realize how much of a nuisance they really were. The Plaza is a conventional loading and unloading area for jeepney and tricycle passengers of various routes. As it has been customary, one would get off somewhere around there, then take another ride on the same spot he got off or across any of the streets or the plaza itself, or perhaps make his way by foot to a destination around downtown. But with those structures set up , pedestrians had walked along a pressuring shrill space of the roadside on which they would be shoulder to shoulder with vehicular traffic. It’s a courtship with danger. Anytime, a walker would have the ravaging risk of being sideswiped by a side mirror or the vehicle itself or accidentally stray by the structures in the process of trying to avoid one or the other. It was pretty disorienting; and relieving once one gets through that gauntlet, a time in which one would make the resolution not to get off that spot again if the sidewalks would not yet be restored, but then the day after, I would make the same mistake since it has been customary. Oh well, I would think to myself, all in the name of commerce. Anyway, the season is a very profitable time for business; and I guess the spot is very viable for consumers. But why my sidewalk? I overheard that authorities would want to keep the middle part of the public square free to give space for strollers to sit and rest. After all, it does make a pretty place for a plaza pedestrian to be sitting for a while and watch as the city go by around. But what about the flea markets on the sides of the streets? Won’t they be bulldozed by the thoughtless throng of crowds once the processions pass through? Well, That would be a nasty sight. anyway, they would have the concrete benches to rest and recuperate. On the other hand, locals were already looking forward for the flea markets to get full blown operational, and have been planning on market marathons at the height of the festivities. But do they really have to be on the busy sidewalks? Have not they been around for years? Where have they stationed in the past years? “Recent trends in consumerism have highlighted the proliferation of the global flea market economy, which contributes significantly to the growing informal sector.” Research shows that “market location, product assortment and market experience positively influence consumer’s purchase intention and market loyalty.” This is important to “retailers who wish to expand their distribution network to the informal market economy, also known as the flea market economy. Marketers should realize the importance of the market’s location and the product assortment when investing in the flea market economy.” ( “The Stony Ridge Summer Festival and Flea Market (in Stony Ridge , Ohio) would have celebrated its 40th year on July 2011, but the economy, torn up roads, state licensing mandates, lack of volunteers and past bad weather forced organizers to take a year off.” ( ) Well, at least, the presence of the flea markets is an indicator of a good economy, good road systems, friendly local government licensing or business permit system, a willing work force, and a cooperative weather. Hey, we’re at a good position. And I thought I was the only one finding this whole setup exasperating. After a few sangunian special sessions, voila, I got my sidewalks back. Apparently, a significant number or a significant group of people wasn’t very pleased with it. I heard that reasons cited were because they did not look good. (iyan lang?) That is one good thing to smile about. Maybe in another city, or another administration, this would not be the case. Maybe a chief executive would not be swayed and stand his ground, and force the public to accept decisions and shove it down their throats, unmindful of popular sentiments. Or perhaps another case could be that the local government could give in to public opinion after much protest, with much resentment; damaging relations in the process. Dynamism is appreciated. “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!” Proverbs 6:6

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