Espinoza: For how long?

Free Zone

FOR now, the Cities of Cebu and Mandaue may have passed the “test” set by President Rodrigo Duterte to reclaim the sidewalks from the vendors and the roads from illegally parked motor vehicles after the Department of the Interior and Local Governments (DILG) inspected the two cities yesterday.

But Interior Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III said the final validation will be in October and the assessment report would be available on Oct. 5 on whether the local government officials have fully complied with its directive or not. This provides us some suspense on whether or not the mayors are already off the hook from the sanction of suspension.

Duterte’s 60-day deadline to comply with his directive through the DILG ended on Monday. A team from the DILG head office, led by Undersecretary Densing III and assisted by the police, fire officials and non-government organizations, inspected Colon St. and Osmeña Blvd. Densing appeared satisfied though.

Densing has commended Cebu City Mayor Edgar C. Labella for relocating the sidewalk vendors to a better place they can earn without causing obstruction to the commuters. He also appreciated the efforts of Mandaue City Mayor Jonas C. Cortes in clearing B. Ceniza St. of vendors, which is now back to a three-lane road. But he noticed vendors on the sidewalk of UN Ave.

DILG Mandaue City Director Jhoaden Lucero assured that the City will clear the remaining roads and sidewalks of vendors. The Mandaue City Legal Office said that of the 51 city and national roads in Mandaue, only 36 were cleared. Meaning, the city’s 15 other streets still have to be cleared of obstructions.

Undersecretary Densing III mentioned to the press that “if the local chief executives and the barangay officials will really have the political will to do what they are mandated to do under the law, they can accomplish it.”

As to how long the cities of Mandaue and Cebu and the other local government units could maintain the free and tidy sidewalks from vendors and roads from the illegally parked vehicles remains to be desired. Remember the ningas cogon attitude? But I’m positive that all the mayors already have plans on how to keep what they have started in clearing the main roads and sidewalks of obstructions.

Clearing the sidewalks and roads is not the sole responsibility of officials or the police. The vendors and everyone also share in the responsibility. It’s about time that sidewalk vendors and motorists should be taught discipline.

The other key to maintaining unobstructed sidewalks and streets is the strict enforcement of the city ordinances on sanitation and the environment laws where everyone should comply and observe. Otherwise, they’ll suffer the consequences of their wrongful acts. Singapore is tidy because its laws are enforced to the letter without fear or favor.

What is jarring to the Cebu City officials, though, are the eyesores brought about by the household garbage dumped on the roadsides. While the city is so serious in clearing the sidewalks of vendors and the roads of obstructions, there are some undisciplined residents who can’t follow the simple schedule on garbage collection.


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