DEADLINE BEGINS Interior Secretary Eduardo Año (fourth from left) calls Metro mayors to the Department of the Interior and Local Government office on Monday to announce the start of the 60-day deadline for clearing roads in their areas of obstructions. NIÑO JESUS ORBETA
MANILA, Philippines — After primary and arterial roads, Metro Manila mayors should next target tertiary roads and residential areas as part of their compliance with President Duterte’s order to “reclaim all public roads.”
On Monday, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año formally kicked off the 60-day deadline given for mayors in the National Capital Region to clear roads in their areas of obstructions, including illegal vendors.
“This [cleanup] program … in Metro Manila as well as all over the country is long overdue. We no longer have alibis not to do it when it is the President’s order,” Año said in a press briefing.
He called on the Metro Manila mayors to prioritize the clearing of primary and arterial roads that contribute to vehicular congestion on main thoroughfares, particularly Commonwealth Avenue, Osmeña Highway, Aurora Boulevard and C5 Road.
Año said that tertiary roads and residential areas would be the next to be cleared of obstructions, specifically sidewalks being used as parking areas or extension of houses.
He warned that he would not hesitate to have any Metro mayor suspended for refusing or failing to act on the President’s order.
“There is no room for compromise on this issue. It’s either black or white. I will not hesitate to submit to the President the names of stubborn local chief executives. If it all leads to a suspension, so be it. It is for the benefit of the people anyway,” Año said.
He cited the Local Government Code which punishes with suspension or removal from office any local official for gross negligence or dereliction of duty, abuse of authority, dishonesty, as well as other administrative offenses.
Año explained that the President has the authority to place city mayors or governors under preventive suspension pending the outcome of an investigation.
However, he reminded the mayors to also take measures to cushion the impact of their clearing operations on displaced persons, specifically vendors, by providing them with alternatives.
He likewise asked them to review and revoke existing city, town or barangay ordinances and resolutions that allow the use of public roads and sidewalks for barangay outposts, flea markets and public transport terminals.
Support from PNP, DILG
Metro Manila mayors will have the support of “the entire machinery of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), including the PNP (Philippine National Police),” Año said.
At the same time, he called on the public to support their officials’ efforts through “complying and complaining.”
“You need to report or file a complaint with the DILG if your mayors are lax so we can rouse them to act on the traffic problem in your area,” Año said.
Don’t miss out on the latest news and information.