All of the 16 municipalities of Zamboanga Sibugay have “initially” complied with the requirements as the road clearing operations deadline is barely three weeks away.
This, as the provincial office of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) seeks to implement the memorandum to reclaim public roads from obstruction and encroachment.
So far, all the municipalities in the province have “initially complied” with the order, Mario Baterna, in an interview, said.
“In our department, Secretary (Eduardo) Año had ordered us to submit a progress report every week,” Baterna revealed.
Every local government has to report if they have an existing ordinance on clearing and reclaiming of roads.
“After we conduct an inventory on relevant laws, we also conduct an inventory of roads that are owned by the local government,” he explained.
After the road inventory, his office will “start the inventory of cleared roads.”
From these, Baterna said his office submits to the national office a progress report every week.
After the deadline, Baterna said they will assess every local government whether each of them had complied with the memorandum.
Based on their assessment, his office will recommend what could be the sanctions for the local governments that had not complied with the order.
The sanctions would depend on the DILG legal department to decide.
But if a local government had done something substantial, it may be asked to continue what it had done,” Baterna explained.
Road right of way
The road clearing also includes the road right of way. By law, he said, this is 60 meters but what is “implemented now is only 30.”
The order, he clarified, is “to clear all roads and shoulders.”
“But if the mayor can clear the road right of way, fine,” he said.
Baterna said the bottleneck in implementing road projects is the issue of road right of way.
The local government must also ensure that those affected by the road clearing operations must be given relocation.
The road clearing operations will focus on illegal vendors and structures, illegally parked vehicles, street dwellers, barangay structures and outposts, store encroachments, shanties, and house encroachment, garbage dumps, and grain drying stations.
The local government must also relocate properly those affected by the clearing operations.
“Our report will also see to it that the local government had given alternative livelihood the illegal vendors affected by the clearing operations,” he added.
On the issue of illegal parking, the local government must also ensure there is an assigned parking space for vehicles.
DILG Memorandum Circular 2019-121 has instructed all local officials to clear all public roads of illegal structures.
The memorandum had stemmed from President Rodrigo Duterte’s instruction during his State of the Nation Address to reclaim the roads from obstructions.
Baterna said Duterte’s instructions came on the heel of what Manila Mayor Isko Moreno had done days after he assumed office.
Moreno had shown that it is possible to reclaim all roads from illegal structures and obstruction.
These roads, he said, had “not only caused inconvenience but also corruption.”
Issued on July 29, the memorandum gave all local governments to comply, document, and report substantial results until September 29. (Antonio M. Manaytay-Mindanao Sun/ Featured Image: DILG Provincial Director Mario Baterna)