With pedestrians reportedly accounting for more than half of the victims or fatalities in recorded road accidents, the Department of Public Works and Highways will now strictly enforce the removal of obstructions and prohibited uses within the right-of-way of national roads.
"We have to recover the road right-of-way for the safety of pedestrians and the general public," said DPWH secretary Rogelio Singson. "With the road shoulders or sidewalks full of illegal encroachments, pedestrians have no option but to walk on the road pavements."
Singson also ordered DPWH field officials to promptly submit their reports on all illegal structures and obstructions along the sidewalks and shoulders of national roads on or before June 15. They will then submit a status report on the removal of illegal structures and obstructions on or before July 3. And then the report will be submitted at the end of the succeeding months.
"If we want to have better quality and safer roads, we have to clear these obstructions along national roads," Singson stressed. "We have to reiterate our stand to remove all obstructions and illegal structures within the right-of-way of all national roads in order to ensure public safety because more often than not, we find these obstructions on curbs and gutters, sidewalks, shoulders, canals and other portions on our national roads."
What the DPWH considers as obstructions within a national road's right-of-way are the following: all kinds of private and permanent structures such as buildings, houses, shanties, stores, shops, sheds, posts, canopies, billboards, signages, advertisements, fences, walls, railings, basketball courts, garbage receptacles, plants and plant boxes, driveways and ramps occupying or protruding onto the sidewalk, and humps; construction materials (gravel, sand, cement, lumber, steel bars, waste materials, etc.); and vehicles and equipment that are junked, parked and occupying or protruding onto the sidewalk or shoulder.
Prohibited uses within the right-of-way, meanwhile, include vending, repair of vehicles, disposal of household/commercial/industrial wastewater and sewage, raising of animals, washing and drying of clothes, crops and other similar items, and sports and related activities.