LOCAL government units (LGUs) have up to February 15 to remove all road and sidewalk obstructions that are considered “hazardous” to motorists and pedestrians in their respective areas of jurisdiction.
LGU officials who fail to meet the new deadline will be dealt with forcefully if only to show that the Duterte administration, through the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), really means business.
The original deadline was supposed to be last January 19, but it was extended until January 27 as requested by local government authorities, according to DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya
And in consideration of the need for LGUs to prepare for their local COVID-19 vaccination plans, the deadline was again reset to February 15. “However, this is the last extension to be granted by the DILG,” he said.
The DILG, headed by Secretary Eduardo Año, resumed the nationwide road clearing operations last November, eight months after it suspended the undertaking due to the crippling COVID-19 pandemic.
Obstructions include unauthorized parked vehicles, illegal structures, nuisances, and any other structures that impede safe and convenient passage through public road or sidewalk across the Philippines.
Malaya said the DILG’s validation of LGUs’ compliance has also been moved from January 18 to February 16 to March 2, 2021.
Validation Teams (VTs) are composed of one representative each from the DILG, Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), civil society organizations and the media, according to Malaya.
DILG officer-in-charge Undersecretary Bernardo Florece Jr. stressed, however, the need to “cross-post” VTs to ensure the impartiality of the validation process.
And local government authorities must submit to the VTs as attachments to the reports photographs, videos, presentations and other means of verifications that support their compliance.
It is only just and proper for the DILG to hit hard at local officials who fail or refuse to rid our roads and sidewalks of all obstructions just 17 months before the end of the Duterte administration.