The ultimatum is now official: The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has announced that starting today, Metro Manila mayors have 60 days to clear their cities’ roads of obstructions. By our count, the deadline falls on September 26, 2019.
“This program to clear all road obstructions in Metro Manila as well as all over the country is long overdue,” DILG head Eduardo Año said in a statement released earlier today, July 29. “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?”
Año stressed that mayors should prioritize clearing primary roads like Commonwealth Avenue, Osmeña Highway, Aurora Boulevard, and C5—thoroughfares that the official says directly contribute to Metro Manila’s traffic crisis. He added that tertiary roads and residential areas with sidewalks being used as parking areas of makeshift terminals and marketplaces should be targeted next.
“Talagang nagkaroon ng pagpapabaya sa bahagi ng LGU (local government units) 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,” said Año.
Año used Manila Mayor Isko Moreno’s cleanup drive as an example for other officials to follow, noting that Moreno has made “remarkable progress” opening up his city’s streets.
Año also called for LGUs to review existing city, municipal, and barangay ordinances and resolutions concerning the use of sidewalks and public roads.
Finally, he ordered for DILG officials to work closely with the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to ensure coordination between the National Government and LGUs, and asked citizens to “cooperate by way of complying and complaining.”
“Kailangan ding i-report o ireklamo ninyo sa amin sa DILG kung medyo tutulog-tulog ang inyong mayor para kalabitin namin at gisingin para umaksyon sa problema ng traffic sa inyong lugar,” he said.
So, 60 days, then. Let’s see what our local government units are really made of.