Manila mayors confident of meeting deadline to clear roads

Rosette Adel ( - August 30, 2019 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines— With less than a month left before their clearing operations deadline, some local government units claimed that they are 90% done with clearing major roads and thoroughfares.

Some of them, on the other hand, claimed they are halfway done.

The Department of Interior and Local Government last month gave local chief executives 60 days to make an inventory of their road networks and ordered them to reclaim public roads used for "private ends" by clearing them of unnecessary obstructions.

The Metro Manila Development Authority and other concerned agencies are helping with the move.

This order was issued through DILG’s Memorandum Circular No. 2019-121.

The memorandum was prompted by President Rodrigo Duterte, who in his fourth State of the Nation Address, made the same directive. It was issued a week after the SONA. 

It appears, however, that Duterte also gave the same order during his SONA in 2017.

The MMDA, led by chair Danilo Lim and the agency's Sidewalk Clearing Operations Group, has also been conducting clearing operations as early as 2016.

They removed illegal vendors from the sidewalks but these vendors, however, returned to the sidewalks eventually.

First-term Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto earlier lamented that the city government itself built structures on public roads.

He made the statement after the city government and the MMDA removed city-built obstructions.

READ: Vico Sotto: How can we tell people to stop building obstructions when local gov’t did the same?

In a clearing operation in Caloocan City, third-term Mayor Oscar Malapitan himself led the destruction of a barangay hall bearing his and his son's name. It is not clear whether the barangay hall was built during his administration.

WATCH: Caloocan mayor leads demolition of barangay hall

The DILG's order intensified Duterte's tall order and the first-time mayors in Metro Manila are leading the conduct of clearing operations.

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso already began clearing known shopping areas and busy streets to decongest traffic in the Philippine capital even prior to the release of the DILG memorandum.

This year's intensified operations also seek to curb the traffic woes in the country and seek to reclaim the public roads which can be used as parking facilities, alternate routes and parks, among others.

In a press release, Taguig City said it has improved the city's Vehicle Pedestrian and Mobility Plan to emphasize first-term Mayor Lino Cayetano's input on making a safe city.

"We just intensified our clearing operations and we are continuing to work with the community so we can move to the next phase of our mobility operation," he said in the release.

Aside from the clearing operations, Taguig has opened Mabuhay Lanes to ease traffic and is studying opening subdivisions to vehicles during rush hours.

The local leaders were initially given 45 days but Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte sought to revert the deadline to 60 days so cities will have ample time to meet the deadline.

The local chief executives, who are also members of the Metro Manila Council, are confident that they can accomplish the clearance of roads in the next 30 days. They said they are on track in the clearing operations.

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