By Chito Chavez
As an off-shoot to the previous road-clearing operation nationwide, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has now given the country’s 1,245 local government units (LGU) on Monday another 75-calendar day deadline to resume and sustain the government’s campaign to free all primary and secondary roads, including sidewalks, from all obstructions.
Under the DILG’s Road Clearing Operation 2.0, DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año has ordered all the LGUs, especially the barangays, to clear local roads and sustain the gains of the road-clearing operations with the same urgency and enthusiasm.
“Binibigyan ko kayo ng 75 calendar days para gawin ito (I am giving you 75 calendar days to accomplish this). This will continue whether you like it or not, especially since it has produced favorable results for the people,” Año said.
The initial 60-day deadline in the nationwide road-clearing operation on primary and secondary roads directed by the President and the DILG last year yielded positive results for the government as only 97 out of the 1,245 LGUs all over the country were found to be non-compliant – 10 of which have recently been filed with administrative charges.
It was recalled that President Duterte, during his last State of the National Address (SONA), directed Año to lead in the massive drive to clear all road right-of-ways from any form of hindrances.
Based on reports from the regions, a total of 6,682 primary and secondary roads nationwide have already been cleared of all types of obstructions.
Año said that the nationwide road-clearing initiative is a continuous effort of the government which will now focus on LGUs and barangays reclaiming local roads and giving it back to the people.
“Now, we will not only validate the performance of the mayors but also of the barangay captains. We recognize that the barangays have the No. 1 responsibility in keeping their roads obstruction-free so under Road Clearing 2.0. we will also assess the performance of the barangays and file appropriate charges if necessary,” he added.
He said that Road Clearing 2.0 which started on February 17 is a step taken by the DILG to ensure that LGUs will continue and build-up on the victories that were achieved in the initial salvo of the road-clearing efforts mid last year.
Año ensured that continuous monitoring and evaluation of LGU-compliance and possible administrative cases will carry on “to guarantee that LGUs will be doing their end of the bargain”.
Through DILG Memorandum Circular 2020-027, Año directed all LGUs to continue the implementation of the road-clearing directive and ensure that their efforts to maintain cleared roads are sustained.
He said the LGUs must enact or review existing ordinances in relation to the road-clearing operation; conduct an inventory of roads within their jurisdiction; conduct regular removal of obstructions in provincial, city, municipal, barangay roads and national primary and secondary roads; implement a displacement strategy for those affected by the operation; rehabilitate cleared roads; and establish a grievance mechanism in which citizens can report unremoved obstructions, provide suggestion, or voice out implementation concerns.
The DILG chief said provincial governors are also directed to ensure the compliance of city and municipal mayors and conduct regular interface with the mayors to discuss the implementation of the directive.
“They are likewise tasked to ensure that provincial ordinances and issuances are in line with the DILG directive on the road-clearing operation. Meanwhile, city and municipal mayors are expected to monitor compliance of barangays in the road-clearing efforts of the national government,” he noted.
He also encouraged citizens to report to all concerned LGUs, and if no action is taken to the DILG, unremoved obstructions through the grievance mechanism local governments are likewise mandated to establish. He further urged them to cooperate in the road-clearing efforts “for the success of this operation will benefit them, the citizens of the barangay”.
Down to the barangays
Año clarified that this round of road-clearing operation will focus on local roads which will demand full cooperation from barangays and their residents, requiring reports on barangay compliance submitted regularly to the DILG.
Based also on the same DILG memorandum, Año ordered punong barangays to be at the helm of clearing local and barangay roads and minor public-use streets within their area of jurisdiction, including the maintenance of other local roads turned over by the city or municipal government.
He said that road obstructions such as vehicles parked in prohibited places specified in RA 4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, or in sidewalks, paths, or alleys; vehicular terminals, except in areas allowed by the LGU; vending sites of any kind of items; house encroachments that obstruct the road right-of-way, protruding gates, tents, among others; and store encroachments and indiscriminate signages and advertisements must be removed from the barangay roads.
“Obstructing barangay outposts, halls, markers, and directories; conduct of sports, sports facilities, and other related activities; drying of rice and other crops; construction materials; debris, waste materials, and other junked items; and other obstruction materials identified by the LGU are also prohibited and must be cleared by the barangay,” he added.
He likewise explained that obstructing and hazardous trees may be pruned or removed in coordination with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources while posts, meters, instrumentation boxes and the like that cause road obstruction must be coordinated to the utility company and the LGU for possible relocation.
Año also said that he just signed a memorandum reminding all LGUs and the Philippine National Police of the law that no tricycles or pedicabs should operate on national highways. Under this memorandum, LGUs must also create a tricycle route plan (TRP) to rationalize the routes of all tricycles in these respective areas.