Año: Road clearing proceeding smoothly but more needs to be done
Less than a month before the deadline set for all local government units (LGUs) to clear roads, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo M. Año says he is satisfied with the performance of Metro Manila mayors in complying with the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte to clear roads from illegal structures and constructions but he says that “more needs to be done.”
“We are pleased with the support, cooperation, and compliance of Metro mayors to the presidential directive but we need to do more and we expect them to sustain their efforts in order to help clear the streets of Metro Manila of traffic,” says Año.
Based on the latest compliance report submitted to the DILG’s Bureau of Local Government Supervision, all road clearing operations are proceeding smoothly in all 17 local government units in Metro Manila in compliance with DILG Memorandum Circular No. 2019-121issued on July 29, 2019 that had set the 60-day deadline for LGUs.
“As of today, a total of 139,959 meters of roads and 52,831 meters of sidewalk in Metro Manila have been reportedly cleared of obstructions and illegal structures. Our operations further resulted to 1,444 illegal vendors, 49 terminals (tricycle, jeepney, pedicab, etc), 1,292 illegally parked vehicles, and 813 obstructions (booth, monoblocks, etc) displaced from our roads. Further, a sizeable portion of all LGUs nationwide or 43.3% have reported conducting road-clearing operations in their localities,” says the DILG Secretary.
Under the DILG directive, aside from conducting road clearing operations, local governments must enact or revisit ordinances related to road clearing and banning of illegal construction; prepare an inventory of roads within their jurisdiction; develop and implement displacement strategies; and cause the rehabilitation of recovered public roads.
“Notwithstanding the hardwork put in by the LGUs in this effort, we also have to give credit to the close monitoring made by our DILG Undersecretaries and Assistant Secretaries who have been assigned to assist LGUs in Metro Manila,” says the DILG chief.
He also urges all national government agencies and Barangays to self-demolish their structures encroaching on public sidewalks. “Please do not wait for the DILG to call your attention. National government agencies are also covered by the Presidential directive,” he says.
According to the BLGS report, as of September 2, 2019, 13 LGUs have ordinances on road clearing operations, while four LGUs — Makati City, Malabon City, San Juan City, and Pateros — issued Executive Orders and established task forces to carry out the road clearing operations. All LGUs in the Metropolitan have also completed an inventory of roads and conducted road clearing operations.
The DILG Secretary says the most common obstructions cleared in Metro Manila include illegally-parked vehicles, sidewalk vendors, street dwellers, and barangay outposts, among others.
Amid the progress of road clearing in the capital region, Añoprods all mayors nationwide to sustain the clearing of the roads for the benefit of the general public.
He says that the real test of the performance of the local chief executives lies in their consistency of maintaining the cleared roads beyond the September 29 deadline with the support of the police and the Barangays.
Año further enjoins mayors to emulate the best practices of some LGUs.
“In Marikina City, for example, obstructions are largely absent and the clearing of roads has been deemed as a non-issue due to the strict implementation of city ordinances regulating the use of sidewalks and roads. The city, then, focuses on area cleaning usually done through communities and barangays,” he says.
Road clearing has been institutionalized in Marikina through the regular provision of resources to the assigned task force and the inculcation of values to communities and students. “Marikina’s experience reveals how effective the Memorandum can be in reclaiming roads and public areas once fully adopted and sustained by the LGU,”Año remarks.
Similarly, Valenzuela City’s strategy centers mainly on involving punong barangays not just in the conduct of the operations, but in information, education, and communication initiatives relating to the Memorandum. Reporting of obstructions can be coursed through the barangays, and progress updates are regularly posted in their social media channels.
The DILG Chief warns that the sanctions on local government officials who are unable to comply with the order of the President would range from a reprimand, suspension, to dismissal from the service. After the 60-day deadline on September 29, Año assures that he would review the accomplishments of all LGUs.
He also says that all road clearing operations in the country apply to all, regardless of political affiliation and that illegally constructed structures on government lots will be dismantled whether they are government or private entities.
Meanwhile, DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan E. Malaya divulges the top complying regions to the road clearing memo.
Metro Manila is the highest followed by Cagayan Valley with 77.5% of its LGUs complying, Central Luzon with 62.3%, Central Visayas with 58.3%, CALABARZON with 53.5%, and Western Visayas with 52.6%.
Malaya says that BLGS data show that 707 LGUs in the country reported having conducted road clearing operations; 397 LGUs reported having enacted or revisited their ordinance relating to road clearing and banning of illegal construction; 931 reported to have completed an inventory of roads within their jurisdiction; 668 reported having displacement strategies in place for those affected by the clearing operations; and 609 reported to have rehabilitation efforts on recovered public roads.
He shares that the DILG will also be shifting to an impact and progress based reporting mechanism about the road clearing efforts of LGUs.
“Just like what was done here in Metro Manila, the Secretary will also assign all Undersecretaries and Assistant Secretaries to all regions of the country to monitor compliance of all LGUs in the provinces,” he says.