DILG road clearings to resume November 16
Caecent No-ot Magsumbol (The Freeman) - October 30, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  The Department of Interior and Local Government will resume its road-clearing operations on November 16 in varying intensities depending on the quarantine classification of the local government unit concerned.

The so-called Road-clearing Operations 2.0 will be fully implemented in LGUs under modified general community quarantine such as Cebu City but it will not be implemented yet in areas under enhanced community quarantine, according to DILG Memorandum Circular No. 2020-145.

Those under a localized lockdowns are also not expected to conduct clearing operations.

The clearings had been going since pre-pandemic and have been on suspended status for seven months now due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Depending on its quarantine classification, an LGU is given maximum 60 calendar days to comply with the presidential directive. The RCO 2.0 will run from November 16 until January 15, 2021, giving LGUs “ample” time to comply.

“Sisimulan na po ulit ang road clearing starting November 16. We hope that the LGUs, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, will show the same enthusiasm and positive results that they were able to achieve last year as we aim for safer and accessible roads free from illegal and potentially hazardous encroachments,” said DILG Secretary Eduardo Año in a press statement.

Although there is a deadline set, Ano stressed that the RCO is year-long endeavor.

Road obstructions such as vehicular terminals, except in areas designated by the LGUs; vending sites; house encroachments that obstruct the right-of-way; debris, waste materials, and other junked items, among others, are to be cleared.

There are, however, exemptions to the clearing operations such as parked ambulance and public emergency vehicles, checkpoints established by IATF, LGUs, PNP, and AFP; and temporary obstructions caused by the establishment of bike lanes.

All road closures currently set up by barangays without respective enabling ordinances nor approval from concerned authorities shall also be dismantled and cleared while structures erected or caused by locally stranded individuals shall be removed after their return to their respective LGUs of destination.

In line with this, the prohibition of tricycles and motorized pedicabs along the national roads and highways must be implemented by the LGUs notwithstanding the rules and guidelines set by the Department of Transportation on the operation of tricycles during the community quarantine period.

LGUs are likewise reminded of their responsibilities including the creation of a tricycle task force and the drafting or updating of their tricycle route plans.

A go in Cebu City

Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella underscored that even without the DILG circular, the city government will continue with its clearing operations.

He said the city is forming an ad hoc committee led by Councilor David Tumulak to look into the affected sidewalk vendors.

“We have to strike a balance. On one hand, promote the general welfare because it is the duty of the local government to see to it that there is order nga dili magkasamok atong mga roads, atong mga sidewalks. On the other hand, ato sang matagaan ug kapanginabuhian ang atong mga kabus nga mga vendors. So we are trying to come up with a formula,” said Labella.

Aside from the ad hoc committee on vendor concerns, he has also formed an ad hoc committee to assess and implement measures against structures encroaching the easement in rivers and waterways in the city. This will be led by the City Engineer Kenneth Carmelita Enriquez.

Labella also said yesterday that he will be asking for the City Legal Office’s opinion with regard to the issue on the use of e-scooters, especially in this time of pandemic. — Decemay P. Padilla, JMD

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