By Chito Chavez
Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte on Friday said 85 percent of the locality’s main roads and vital inner streets are now free from all obstructions and expressed confidence that the city will meet the Sept. 29 deadline set by the national government to clear primary, secondary and Mabuhay lanes.
She said the intensified road clearing operations in the city is in compliance with the directive of President Duterte.
“Twenty-hours a day kaming nagtatrabaho para ma-meet ang deadline kaya confident kaming ma-mi-meet namin ang deadline (We are working 24 hours a day to meet the deadline that is why we are confident of meeting the deadline),” said Belmonte, referring to the Sept. 29 deadline set by the national government.
Belmonte also acknowledged the crucial role of barangay officials in the local government’s clearing operations.
“Sa lawak at laki ng ating lungsod, hindi puwedeng mag-claim ng credit ang city government dito. Gusto kong i-share ang credit sa lahat ng punong barangay. (With the enormous size of the city, the city government cannot claim full credit. I want to share the credit with all the barangay chairman.) We could not have done this without involving every single local government official in this campaign,” she added.
Belmonte admitted that Quezon City’s size poses a huge challenge in the clearing operations as it makes up almost 25 percent of Metro Manila’s total land area with 166.20 square kilometers of space.
She noted that Caloocan City, the second-largest city in Metro Manila, has a space of 53.33 square kilometers or less than one-third of Quezon City’s size.
Meanwhile, she commended officials and residents of Barangay Holy Spirit for their utmost cooperation with the local government’s clearing operations.
Belmonte noted that “residents of Barangay Holy Spirit, on their own initiative, have demolished portions of their homes that encroach on sidewalks.”
“Nakikita natin na sila ang nagkusang tibagin ang kanilang mga tahanan na nag-e-encroach sa sidewalk (We saw that they voluntarily demolished their houses which encorached the sidewlaks),” said Belmonte.
“Wala ngang bumaba rito na tauhan ng Department of Public Order and Safety (DPOS). Wala ngang ahensiya mula sa lokal na pamahalaan na bumaba rito. Barangay lang talaga ang gumawa nito (No personnel from the Department of Public Order and Safety (DPOS) went to this barangay. No agency from the local government went to this barangay. The barangay only did it on its own),’’ Belmonte stressed.
Belmonte said the full support of officials and residents of Barangay Holy Spirit to the local government’s clearing operation should set an example to other barangays in Quezon City
Stressing that what Barangay Holy Spirit residents did was worth emulating, Belmonte said it is very often that the DPOS are compelled to do the demolition of illegal structures due to extreme public resistance.
“Dito napatunayan na pakiusapan lang ng punong barangay nang maayos ang kanyang nasasakupan (This proves the barangay chairman’s call is enough). There’s trust and confidence in their punong barangay and I think that’s important,” Belmonte ended.