THE road-clearing mission is removal of road obstructions and not road widening.
Interior and Local Government Eduardo Año stressed this after receiving reports that contractors of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and local government units (LGUs) from La Union, Northern Samar and other parts of the country are using Memorandum Circular 121-2019 as shield to serve their own purposes.
Año said the MC is only for clearing the roads from all types of obstruction and that it cannot be used for road widening purposes.
Mayors are given 60 days or up to September 29 to accomplish the street clearing “mission” or face sanctions from the DILG if proven non-compliant.
“They remove century-old trees, demolish waiting sheds that do not obstruct sidewalks and even demolish structures in private lots without notice and just compensation,” the DILG chief said.
He said MC 121-2019 is in compliance with the directive of the President Rodrgo Duterte to “return to public use, all public roads and sidewalks that have been appropriated for private use.”
“In other words, it is for purposes of returning to the public the use of all public roads and it should never be used for road-widening purposes,” he explained.
Año added that MC 121-2019 cannot be used to justify road widening projects because that is covered by a different set of rules.
“For example, the taking by government of private property for road widening purposes requires expropriation proceedings and the payment of just compensation after due notice and hearing,” he said.
The DILG chief urged all local government chiefs and DPWH district engineers to advise their respective contractors on the purpose and coverage of MC 121-2019 and not to interpret it in another way.
Meanwhile, with 10 days before the end of the 60-day deadline, Año created validation teams to ensure that local government units (LGUs) are “on the same page in implementing DILG MC No. 2019-121.”
DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said the validation teams will assess the compliance of the LGUs with the Presidential directive.
“This is another effort of the DILG to reach out to LGUs nationwide and make certain that they are complying with the President’s orders. We are inching towards the 60-day deadline and, of course, we want to yield a 100 percent compliance,” Malaya said.
Malaya added that the DILG validation team will be composed of a DILG officer cross-posted from a different LGU, a representative from the local Philippine National Police unit; a representative from the local Bureau of Fire Protection Station; representatives from accredited civil society organizations; and a representative from the Media.