Do an Isko in Reclaiming Roads: DILG Chief
The move done by Manila City Mayor Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso in reclaiming public roads is a good example of ways to solve Metro Manila’s traffic woes, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año said yesterday, Tuesday, July 23–a day after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered Año’s office to suspend mayors and governors who refuse to clear public roads to ease traffic congestion in the country.
Duterte issued the order in his speech during his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the Batasang Pambansa complex in Quezon City on, Monday, July 22.
“Nakita natin dito sa Metro Manila, meron mga roads na ginawang tianggian, ginawang tindahan ng vendors at ginawa rin mga parking areas (We see here in Metro Manila, there are roads full of street vendors and made into parking areas). So we will change that. Katulad ng ginawa sa Manila ni Mayor Isko Moreno, ‘yung Divisoria malinis na ngayon. Tinanggal na ‘yung mga vendors dito (Just like what Mayor Isko Moreno did in Manila, Divisoria is now clean. Vendors there have been removed),” Año said during a press conference organized by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) at the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) building in Quezon City.
Since taking over the helm as Manila mayor this month, Domagoso cleared the city’s major streets in Divisoria, Quiapo, Carriedo, among others, of ambulant vendors whose stalls prevented the normal flow of traffic.
In his State of the Nation Address, Duterte mentioned that economic losses due to traffic congestion in Metro Manila are pegged at PHP3.5 billion per day.
“We have to ease traffic, binanggit ng ating Presidente (as what the President said), reclaim private roads to become public roads,” Año said.
Local government officials who refuse or fail to reclaim public roads from being used for private purposes would be suspended, as ordered by Duterte.
Año said there would be an inventory of all roads in Metro Manila currently being under-utilized. He said there are also talks with gated communities to allow the use of private roads during rush hours.
“Gusto rin nating magkaroon ng kasunduan with gated subdivisions na during rush hours, may mga kalsada diyan na pwedeng bigyan ngaccess ‘yung public. Para naman makatulong. Gawin natin mga secondary or alternate roads (We also want to have agreements with gated subdivision so that during rush hours, there are roads there that could be accessed by the public. It would help. We would use them as secondary or alternate roads),” Año said.
He added the existing memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the DILG, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), and local government units (LGUs) to clear roads of obstructions and illegally parked vehicles would be strictly enforced.
“MMDA ang magkli-clear diyan, then itu-turn over sa barangay, and then the barangay will have to maintain it. Kung hindi (MMDA will do the clearing operations, then the streets will be turned over to the barangays, and then the barangays will have to maintain it. If not), then we will apply sanction,” he said.