DILG Gives LGUs 60 Days to ‘Reclaim All Public Roads’
“Reclaim all public roads” was President Rodrigo Duterte’s marching orders for Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año during the former’s fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) last July 22, and the agency head is taking the words to heart.
On Monday, July 29, Año instructed all local government units (LGUs) in the country to clear all public roads in their respective jurisdictions of any obstructions, especially illegal vendor stalls. Año’s announcement signals the beginning of the 60-day countdown for the completion of the road-clearing efforts.
Año made the announcement in front of all Metro Manila mayors, after which the Memorandum Circular No. 2019-121 was handed out to all governors, mayors, barangay officials DILG regional directors, and other community heads.
“In line with the President’s directive during the 2019 State of the Nation Address, all local officials are enjoined to exercise their powers essentials to reclaim public roads which are being used for private ends and in the process, rid them of illegal structures and constructions,” the memorandum read.
“Local governments are also to cause rehabilitation of all recovered public roads by placing street names and street lights, among others,” it added.
“This [cleanup program] is long overdue. We no longer have alibis not to do it when it is the President’s order,” Año told the mayors. “There is no room for compromise on this issue. It’s either black or white. I will not hesitate to submit to the President the names of stubborn local chief executives. If it all leads to a suspension, so be it. It is for the benefit of the people anyway.”
During the meeting last Thursday, July 25, DILG Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III told the mayors they have 60 days to clear the roads. However, Densing later shortened the deadline the following day to 45 days after some local executive chiefs said they have already completed their road clearing efforts since the President’s announcement.
The shortened deadline was countered by Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte, who said 60 days is more realistic for those who govern large jurisdictions.