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  DILG files charges against 2 more mayors for failing road clearing directive

Two more municipal mayors are facing administrative charges for violating President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to clear roads of illegal obstructions and return the use of major roads and highways to the public, according to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

“We meant it when we said that cases will be filed against negligent local execs. Unless local chief executives get their acts together and take the President’s instructions to clear roads seriously, they will be held accountable and face charges,” said DILG Secretary Sec. Eduardo M. Año.

Año said that this is the second batch of cases filed before the Office of the Ombudsman after the two local chief executives (LCEs) failed to satisfactorily respond to the show cause orders issued by the Department and were among those who obtained the lowest scores in the validation and assessment conducted by the Department.

He identified the mayors of Boliney in Abra and Motiong in Samar as the 2 local chief executives who are now facing administrative cases for gross neglect of duty and grave misconduct before the Ombudsman.

During the assessment and inspection of the validating team in Motiong, nine roads have been found with illegally parked vehicles, barangay structures, store encroachments, shanties, garbage dumps, canal obstructions, plants and construction materials as obstructions.

On the other hand, the validating team found out that the municipality of Boliney failed to present an inventory of the provincial, municipal and barangay roads in their area. An identified provincial road was also found with extended canopies as obstructions.

Both LGUs also failed to come up with any rehabilitation and sustainability plans nor set up a grievance and feedback mechanism on clearing of road obstructions.

“The Municipalities of Motiong and Boliney obtained a total score of not more than 50 points in the indicators set by the DILG. Such score translated to their glaring failure to follow the rule of law that public streets are for public use,” said Año.

In October last year, the DILG issued show cause orders to 97 LGUs across the country demanding their explanation for their non-compliance with the DILG's directive based on the assessment and validation conducted by the Department.

After the validation, the first batch of administrative cases for gross neglect of duty and grave misconduct were filed with the Office of the Ombudsman in January against the municipal mayors of Baco, Oriental Mindoro; Pili, Camarines Sur; Ginatilan, Cebu; Pagsanghan, Samar; Aurora and Lapuyan, Zamboanga Del Sur; Sagay and Guinsiliban, Camiguin; Manticao, Misamis Oriental; and Caraga, Davao Oriental.

The DILG Chief said all local government units (LGUs) were given sufficient time to comply with the President’s directive, but the 12 officials showed negligence, dereliction of duty, and lack of cooperation.

"The 12 LGUs registered the lowest validation scores in the stringent nationwide evaluation and monitoring by the DILG despite our giving them enough time and fair warning," he revealed.

Año urged the Ombudsman to immediately act on the cases filed by the DILG to prove to the public that government means business when it ordered the clearing of all roads for the use of motorists and pedestrians.

“More cases will be filed as soon as our lawyers have finished reviewing the validation reports and the corresponding answers by the mayors,” he vowed.

President Duterte, in his last State of the Nation Address, ordered the DILG to take the lead in the road clearing operations and suspend non-compliant LCEs. Heeding the Presidential directive, the DILG released Memorandum Circular 2019-121 ordering LCEs to use all their powers under the law to reclaim public roads being used for private ends.

DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said that the road clearing operations will continue as the Department recently gave a 75-calendar-day deadline to clear not just national primary and secondary roads, but also local roads.

“With Road Clearing 2.0, we will now also validate the performance of barangay captains in keeping their roads obstruction-free. Kaya kailangang kumilos at magsipag na rin ang ating mga barangay,” he said.

Road Clearing 2.0, which commenced on February 17, 2020 mandates the Punong Barangays to also be at the helm of clearing local and barangay roads and minor public-use streets within their area of jurisdiction including the maintenance of other local roads turned over by the city or municipal government.

Road obstructions such as vehicles parked in prohibited places specified in RA 4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, or in sidewalks, paths, or alleys; vehicular terminals except in areas allowed by the LGU; vending sites of any kind of items; house encroachments that obstruct the road right-of-way, protruding gates, tents, among others; and store encroachments and indiscriminate signages and advertisements must be removed from all roads.

Obstructing barangay outposts, halls, markers, and directories; conduct of sports, sports facilities, and other related activities; drying of rice and other crops; construction materials; debris, waste materials, and other junked items; and other obstruction materials identified by the LGU are also prohibited and must be cleared by the barangay, he added.

He likewise explained that obstructing trees may be pruned or removed in coordination with the local office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources while posts, meters, instrumentation boxes and the like that causes road obstruction must be coordinated to the utility company and the LGU for possible relocation.

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