Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza recently said that every Tom, Dick and Harry illegally occupying and obstructing a public road or sidewalk is actually paying a bribe to somebody.
This, he said, is why President Rodrigo Duterte’s road and sidewalk-clearing push should be considered as a herculean fight against corruption.
‘This is the State flexing its muscles and using its police powers to reclaim and give back to the people all the roads and sidewalks that rightfully belong to them’, Atienza said.
Describing the State’s police powers as ‘the ability of Malacañang down to local government officials to compel obedience to laws, and to regulate behavior and enforce order for the improvement of public welfare,’ Atienza says that the corruption that pervades the illegal use of roads and sidewalks – as public transport terminals, parking spaces and vending areas – involves crooked local motor vehicle traffic bosses, active and retired police and military officers and barangay officials, among others.
On July 29, the President, through Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, gave all governors and mayors down to barangay chairpersons 60 days to unblock all roads and sidewalks within their jurisdiction, under pain of swift administrative suspension by Malacañang.
‘As we’ve been pointing out repeatedly, the government does not really need emergency powers to fix road congestion. It has ample police powers to remove all unwanted road obstructions,’ Atienza said.
Indeed, it is common knowledge that those illegally occupying sidewalks or even roads are definitely able to continue with their illicit money-making schemes by making some people rich--people who are in power, particularly officials and ‘collectors’ from the barangay, police and City Hall, among others.
This is exactly what happened in Manila. By refusing to accept bribe money from illegal vendors and illegal terminals as well, Mayor Isko Moreno was able to clear major roads and thouroughfares.
His political rivals scoff at Mayor Kois for revealing that the bribes go up to about P5 million a day when in fact, it could even be more, based on what well-placed sources say.
And as Mayor Kois had said time and again, should the public find the illegal vendors and terminals back and again occupying the roads and thoroughfares illegally, it could only mean one thing — that he has already accepted bribes.
In relation to this, Atienza also urges Malacañang to issue an executive order that will deal with all the road excavations left unattended by public works contractors and private firms supplying water, gas, electricity and telecommunications services.
“We need highly disciplined road diggings, considering that there could be up to two million of them nationwide every year, including those done by utility companies,” he said.
I totally agree with the good Congresman when he said that road excavation permit applicants should be billed rising hourly fees so they will be coerced to complete their work without delay. They should also be required to pay extra charges if they choose to do their work on weekdays, instead of weekends.
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