The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) urged the local government units (LGUs) on Monday to strictly enforce the minimum health standards with the resumption of the 60-day road clearing operations on November 16 which was temporarily suspended due to COVID-19.
After an eight month suspension, DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said road clearing operations will resume in the country except in areas under the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) or places with stricter quarantine protocols and those still flooded due to recent typhoons.
“The road clearing operations are needed to ensure orderliness as we revive local economies without being complacent against COVID-19. Our transition to the ‘new normal’ calls for the need to ensure that our roads remain safe, accessible, and free from illegal and potentially hazardous encroachments,” Año said in an earlier statement.
With the government busy in providing public service in the midst of the pandemic and series of typhoons and gradual opening of the industries, Año emphasized that health and public safety should be the focus of the LGUs.
“Panatilihin ang disiplina sa pagsusuot ng face mask at face shield, i-sanitize ang mga kamay at dumistansya ng isang metro sa bawat isa (Let us maintain discipline in wearing face masks and face shields, sanitize the hands, and keep the one meter distance from one another),” he said.
DILG Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 2020-145 states that areas under the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) should fully implement the road clearing operations which means the implementation of all components of road clearing.
Año said that full implementation includes “the removal of road and sidewalk obstructions, conduct of road inventories, physical removal of road obstructions without prejudice to the property rights of the affected stakeholders, crafting and implementation of displacement plans, rehabilitation, and maintenance of cleared roads, and creation of a grievance mechanism.’’
“For LGUs under General Community Quarantine (GCQ), they shall do a partial implementation of road clearing operations. It is limited to the actual or physical removal or abatement of road and sidewalk obstructions that are considered hazardous to motorists and pedestrians.
These are unauthorized parked vehicles, illegal structures, nuisances, and any other structures erected along or standing on, made immovable or otherwise, that impede safe and convenient passage through public road or sidewalk.
The partial implementation also includes road clearing to establish bicycle lanes,’’ the DILG statement read.
The DILG chief clarified that LGUs are not expected to conduct road clearing in villages, subdivisions, barrios, or along roads, streets, or alleys that are declared to be under localized enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) or MECQ.
DILG Undersecretary Jonathan E. Malaya said “some structures or vehicles shall be exempt from removal or apprehension by LGUs concerning the fight against COVID-19.’’
He said that parked ambulances, public emergency vehicles and checkpoints of the LGUs, Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), police or military and temporary structures for bicycle lanes are exempted from the road clearing operations.
Malaya said that “structures or obstructions erected or caused by locally stranded individuals (LSIs) shall be removed upon their return to their intended LGU destination.’’
He also clarified that all road closures currently set up by barangays without enabling ordinances or approval from concerned authorities shall be dismantled and cleared to ensure unhampered public conveyance.
Malaya added that barangays under the ECQ or MECQ may put up such road closures subject to the approval of concerned authorities.
The deadline for all barangays to submit a report on their road clearing operations conducted in November is on December 15.
Meanwhile, the validation of provincial, city, and municipal compliance with the road clearing operations shall be conducted on January 18 to 22, 2021.
Among the items to be validated by the DILG Validation Teams are the tricycle route plans in their respective areas to ensure that alternate routes are provided to tricycles which are banned from operating on national highways.