An official of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday announced that nationwide road clearing operations would resume on November 16.
DILG spokesperson, Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, said the move complies with Memorandum Circular (MC) 2020-145, signed by Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, which gave local government units (LGUs) until Jan. 15, 2021 to clear roads within their jurisdiction of any obstruction.
“Meron pong dalawang buwan ang ating mga LGUs na ipagpatuloy ang road clearing programs sa kanilang mga lugar (The LGUs have two months to continue the road-clearing programs in their areas),” Malaya said in a Laging Handa briefing.
He said LGUs of areas under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) should fully implement the road-clearing directive of President Rodrigo Duterte.
However, a partial implementation of the measure is allowed in areas under GCQ.
Meanwhile, the measure is suspended in areas under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) or modified ECQ.
In a statement, Año said the measure comes after the flattening of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) curve and the easing of quarantine classifications in various areas in the country.
“We hope that the LGUs, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, will show the same enthusiasm and positive results that they were able to achieve last year as we aim for safer and accessible roads free from illegal and potentially hazardous encroachments. Despite the January 15 deadline, we wish to remind the LGUs that RCO (road clearing operation) is (a) year-long endeavor, kaya kailangan natin ang kanilang commitment at pakikiisa (so we need their commitment and cooperation),” he added.
However, under DILG MC 2020-145, Año said the resumption of RCO 2.0 would vary, depending on an area’s quarantine classification.
“We may have resumed RCO 2.0 but we acknowledge the threat posed by Covid-19. Hence, we still take into consideration the quarantine classification of the LGU,” he said.
In the memorandum, Año said partial implementation in areas under GCQ is limited to the actual removal or abatement of road and sidewalk obstructions that are considered dangerous to motorists and pedestrians and road clearing to establish bike lanes.
The full implementation in MGCQ areas and below, he said, requires LGUs to adopt all components of the RCO, as provided under DILG MC 2020-027.
All LGUs implementing RCO 2.0, whether partial or full implementation, are expected to abide by the prescription of DILG MC 2020-027 released last February, which stipulates the policy on the continued implementation of the President’s order to clear roads of illegal obstructions.
Año said during the 60-day implementation of the RCO 2.0, LGUs must rid the streets of any obstruction, such as vehicular terminals except in areas designated by the LGUs; vending sites; house encroachments that obstruct the right of way; debris, waste materials, and other junked items.
Malaya said during the implementation of RCO 2.0, parked ambulance and public emergency vehicles; checkpoints established by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, LGUs, the police and the military; and temporary obstructions caused by the establishment of bike lanes, are exempted from being removed or apprehended.
Structures or obstructions erected for locally stranded individuals must also be removed upon their return to their intended LGU destination, he said.
Malaya noted that banning motorized pedicabs and tricycles on national roads and highways must be implemented by the LGUs notwithstanding the rules and guidelines set by the Department of Transportation on the operation of tricycles during the community quarantine period.
He added that the DILG’s validation of LGU compliance, just like in the previous implementation of RCO, would be exercised at the provincial, municipal, and city levels on Jan. 18-22, 2021.
LGU officials who fail to comply with the measure would face administrative charges.
On Tuesday, Duterte placed the National Capital Region, the provinces of Batangas and Lanao del Sur, and the cities of Iloilo, Bacolod, Tacloban, and Iligan, under GCQ for the entire November.
No region in the country was placed under ECQ or MECQ. (PNA)