By Chito Chavez
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) clarified on Tuesday that its directive, in line with the President’s instruction to clear roads of obstructions, “does not only cover local chief executives (LCEs) of Metro Manila but all local government units (LGU) across the entire country’’.
“No local government is exempted from the directive. We are just giving extra attention to Metro Manila because the problem of road obstructions is most acute in the National Capital Region (NCR) but the memorandum circular covers the entire country,” said DILG Undersecretary and spokesman Jonathan E. Malaya.
Malaya explained that since the instruction to “reclaim public roads which are being used for private ends” came from the President, himself, during his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA), the directive applies not only to NCR but to the rest of the country.
“As DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said, this should be a nationwide undertaking,’’ Malaya said.
He explained that similar road clearing operations will also be conducted in Cebu, Iloilo and other parts of the country.
With this, Malaya said the President’s instruction to the DILG is to recommend the suspension of negligent mayors not only in Metro Manila but also in other provinces.
On July 29, 2019, the DILG issued Memorandum Circular 2019-121 directing all governors, mayors, and “punong barangays’’ to exercise their powers essential to reclaim public roads, rid them of illegal structures and constructions, rehabilitate them by placing street names and street lights, and carry out strategies to address possible displacement issues.
“We expect all DILG field officers in the provinces to immediately meet with their respective mayors to brief them on the guidelines issued by Secretary Año on the implementation of the President’s SONA directive and to ensure their compliance,” said Malaya.
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Since the road clearing efforts will be a continuing activity, DILG regional offices are also obliged to submit weekly compliance and progress reports to the Office of the DILG Secretary during the 60-day compliance period.
Malaya said similar to Metro Manila Mayors, LCEs outside of NCR may also be recommended for suspension to the President if no significant improvement is seen in their respective areas after the lapse of 60 days.