If you’ve been away for quite some time and will be coming home in a few days, don’t be surprised if the appearance of your street and the roads leading to your house has changed.
This is because all the mayors and barangay officials have been given strict instructions by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to clear the streets of obstructions—be they ambulant or fixed—within 60 days.
And this is what’s keeping local government executives busy these days, and why you’d see mayors, barangay leaders and police officials going live on social media while they dismantle illegal structures on roads.
It was President Duterte himself who ordered the clearing operations in his State of the Nation Address last July 22 as a measure to ease traffic congestion. One week later, DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año issued Memorandum Circular 2019-121 giving mayors 60 days “to exercise their powers essential to reclaim public roads which are being used for private ends, and in the process rid them of illegal structures and constructions.”
Ano wants mayors to exercise Section 32 of the Local Government Code to make sure all barangay executives will help implement Duterte’s directive. The provision states that: “The city or municipality, through the city or municipal Mayor concerned, shall exercise general supervision over component Barangays to ensure that said Barangays act within the scope of their prescribed powers and functions.”
DILG Undersecretary Jonathan E. Malaya said the cooperation of barangays “is crucial for the success of this program.”
“We have been deluged by complaints from the people about Barangay captains who are failing to act and worse being complicit and actively tolerating road obstructions. The mayors have to make them accountable because that’s their mandate and responsibility,” Malaya said.
But even before Duterte issued his directive, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno was already having viral videos on social media while supervising illegal vendor clearing operations in Divisoria, Lagusnilad Underpass, Plaza Miranda, Quezon Boulevard, Blumentritt and Carriedo, among others. Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto and Pateros Mayor Ike Ponce, meanwhile, worked together in clearing the roads around their jurisdictions’ borders of illegal structures such as signposts, parked vehicles and illegal vendors.
San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora also went live on social media when he led the demolition of a police community precinct on a sidewalk.
Baclaran was also a subject of several rounds of clearing operations by the Metro Manila Development Authority and the local governments of Pasay City and Paranaque City.
Malaya, in a statement, said road obstructions will not happen without the knowledge of the Barangay Captain. “Sabi nga ni Secretary Año, imposibleng wala silang alam sa pagtatayo ng mga road obstruction na ‘yan. It is just proper that they rectify their actions by cooperating to the clearing operations of the local government unit.”
Barangay halls erected on sidewalks should be self-demolished by the Barangay officials, Malaya added.