Garcia made the remarks after President Duterte, in his fourth State of the Nation Address, challenged local government units to “give the road back to the people.”
Gwen: Mayors, not governor, chiefly responsible for traffic
Lorraine Ecarma (The Freeman) - July 31, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia said maintaining road order is a responsibility that falls mainly on mayors, not governors.

Garcia made the remarks after President Duterte, in his fourth State of the Nation Address, challenged local government units to “give the road back to the people.”

Pursuant to the President’s directive, the Department of Interior and Local Government issued Memorandum Circular No. 2019-121 ordering all LGU heads, including provincial governors and mayors, to clear public roads of obstructing parked vehicles and private structures.

“That (Memorandum Circular No. 2019-121) is in support of the President’s message during the SONA. But let me just qualify, he was referring to the mayors, not the governors, because that is the primary responsibility of the mayors,” Garcia said.

“When it becomes an inter-LGU problem, that is when we, as governors, may step in. And that is why we are really looking into calling a traffic summit sometime in the near future,” she added.

Garcia believes there may have been a lack of coordination by local government units in the past because they were only entitled to make decisions upon their own territorial jurisdictions.

She said there is a need to “look at the bigger picture” because traffic congestion is a problem faced not by one particular city or town alone.

“Since wala man kaayo nay effort in the past several years, mao nang nisamot ka grabe (Since it was not given much attention in the previous years, the problem has worsened),” Garcia said.

The traffic summit that Garcia wishes to hold will allow mayors and the Capitol officials to discuss ways on how the traffic problem can be ironed out.

But because the DILG has given the mayors a 60-day deadline to address the problem, the governor said the summit may not happen anytime soon.

She also said she no longer feels that the Capitol needs to take further action with regard to the DILG memorandum. — JMD (FREEMAN)

GWENDOLYN GARCIA
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