By Chito Chavez
Starting December, quarterly validation of roads to ensure that they are free from obstructions will now be conducted as the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) urged the country’s cities and municipalities to sustain their clearing of public lots as ordered by President Duterte.
DILG Undersecretary and spokesman Jonathan Malaya said it was imperative for the local government units (LGU) to meet the 60-day deadline on the clearing of public properties which ended on September 29 and to continuously maintain that they are cleared of illegal structures, illegally parked vehicles, and similar obstructions all year round.
The DILG had asked the LGUs in the medium and low compliance category to improve on their performance.
“The President congratulated the DILG and all LGUs who actively participated in the road clearing operations and directed Secretary Año to continue with the program until the end of his term,” Malaya said.
Malaya said that while there was more to be done, “the President was very satisfied and he commended the DILG under Secretary Año and the LGUs with resounding applause from him and all Cabinet members during the Cabinet meeting last Friday.”
Based on the validation reports from 1,246 LGUs, 6,899 roads all over the country were cleared of all types of obstruction with 328 LGUs getting high compliance rating, 497 LGUs got medium compliance rating, 323 got low compliance rating, and 97 LGUs got failing marks.
He said that a new Memorandum Circular will be issued by the DILG to all LGUs about the continuation of the program and the quarterly validation.
Malaya noted the DILG will also direct its field officers to assess the performance of their respective LGUs and advise them of how they can sustain and improve their performance.
“So, our advice to all LGUs is not to let their guard down, maintain and sustain what they have accomplished, continue with their road clearing operations, otherwise they will join the 97 LGUs that have been issued show cause orders by Secretary Año,” he added.
Of the 97 issued show cause orders: 11 are from Region 1, one from Region 2, one from Region 3, seven from Region IV-B, 10 from Region 5, one from Region 6, 12 from Region 7, nine from Region 8, 18 from Region 9, 13 from Region 10, three from Region 11, three from Region 12, four from Region 13, and four from CAR. Reports from BARMM and Region IV-A are still forthcoming.
Malaya also said that aside from LGUs, they have also been working with other government agencies and private companies in compliance with the President’s directive.
“To help decongest traffic during road accidents, DILG Usec. Bernardo Florece is working with the MMDA, Insurance Commission, LTO, and the PNP for the use of the accident investigation report as an alternative to the Police Report in minor accidents. The DENR has also issued a Department Order that the issuance of cutting permits for trees obstructing roads should be released within three days if the request is in order,” he noted.
On electric posts left over from road widening projects, the DILG is currently in talks with the DPWH, Meralco, and electric cooperatives for the immediate transfer of the posts to the sidewalk.
“Usec. Florece is also working with Meralco, PLDT, Globe, and other utility companies for the use of a common-post system to reduce the number of posts on the sidewalk. All utility companies have agreed in principle and a working group has been created to work out the details,” Malaya said.