DEPARTMENT of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año said the 60-day ultimatum for the Metro Manila mayors to clear road obstructions in their areas of jurisdiction begins Monday, July 29.
In a meeting with Metro Manila mayors, Año issued a memorandum circular ordering the local government units to conduct clearing operations to ease traffic flow.
He warned that mayors who fail to deliver will be suspended or removed from office.
“There is no room for compromises on this issue. It’s either black or white. Hindi ako magdadalawang-isip na magpasa ng mga pangalan ng LCEs na matitigas ang ulo sa ating Pangulo (I won't hesitate to submit to the President the names of local chief executives who fail to comply). If it all leads to a suspension, so be it. It is for the benefit of the people anyway," said Año.
“It will be the task of these senior DILG officials to work closely with the City Mayors so that the deadlines could be met. They will also work closely with the PNP, MMDA, DPWH, and DOTR to ensure close coordination between the National Government and LGUs in ensuring compliance with the President’s directive,” he added.
He identified main thoroughfares such as Commonwealth Avenue, Osmeña Highway, Aurora Boulevard, C5, among others, as well as arterial roads leading to and from the said main roads.
"This program to clear all road obstructions in Metro Manila as well as all over the country is long overdue. Hindi na uubra ang mga alibi lalo na’t ang Pangulo na mismo ang nag-utos. Kelan pa ba tayo aaksyon para maibsan ang traffic?” he said.
“Talagang nagkaroon ng pagpapabaya sa bahagi ng LGU at pagmamalabis sa bahagi ng mga mamamayan. Kapag pinabayaan natin ito, sisikip ng sisikip ang mga daanan, mas lalong lalala ang traffic at walang mangyayaring pagbabago,” he added.
Año also noted the tertiary roads and residential areas where even the sidewalks are being used as tiangge, parking area, sari-sari store and house extension.
During his fourth State of the Nation Address (Sona) on July 22, President Rodrigo Duterte instructed the LGUs to reclaim public roads being used for private purposes in order to ease traffic congestion in Metro Manila.
A study made by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) estimated that the country loses P3.5 billion each day due to traffic in Metro Manila.
Losses could reach P5.4 billion in 2035 if no interventions will be introduced at present, the study warned.
Año assured Metro Manila mayors that additional police units and fire personnel will be deployed to help them carry out clearing operations.
He also asked the public for their cooperation and understanding. (SunStar Philippines)