The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has ordered mayors to clear sidewalks and roads of obstructions in their cities within 45 days.

DILG Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III said on Thursday that this is in compliance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive issued during his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA).

The president reiterated his directive to the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and all concerned local officials in Metro Manila, and all other cities, to undertake immediate action to ensure the “speedy and smooth flow of vehicular traffic.”

“Reclaim all public roads that are being used for private ends,” Duterte ordered. “Marami diyan (There are so many).”

Densing said, “Obstructions ang major cause ng traffic. Papalabasin namin ‘yung Memorandum Circular binabanggit namin sa kanila. First, the DILG is requesting that all mayors submit to us a road network in their respective cities. Then, magkaroon ng road audit para ma-identify lahat ng kalsada at bangketa na mayroong illegal structures then hihingi kasi kami sa kanila ng plano kung paano magbabaklas ng illegal structures para malinis ‘yung kalsada.”

(Obstructions are the major cause of traffic congestion. We will release the Memorandum Circular which we have mentioned to them. First, the DILG is requesting that all mayors submit to us a road network map in their respective cities. Then, we will conduct a road audit to identify all roads and streets with illegal structures and require a plan on how to get rid of such.)

Densing said that officials of the DILG will be very strict and will be assigned to monitor the local government units (LGUs) in Metro Manila.

Magiging mahigpit kami dito sa DILG. Just to emphasize, the undersecretaries and assistant sectaries of DILG will be assigned to respective LGUs here in the metropolis para sila mismo mag-monitor sa Metro Manila,” he added.

(We in the DILG will be strict. Just to emphasize, the undersecretaries and assistant secretaries of DILG will be assigned to respective LGUs here in the metropolis so that they will be the ones monitoring Metro Manila.)

In the Memorandum Circular that the DILG will issue, Densing said once a mayor is proven to have committed “gross negligence and dereliction of duty” for not being able to clean sidewalks and roads, he or she will be suspended.

“Within 45 days, kailangan po itong magawa. Sa MC (Memorandum Circular) kapag ‘di nagawa within 45 days ang paglilinis, magkakaroon tayo ng imbestigasyon base sa binanggit ni Pangulong Duterte sa dialogue with the mayors. Once we see the gross negligence and dereliction of duty we can recommend the suspension of the mayor. And the president, without second thought, will sign our recommendation for suspension (Within 45 days, they should do this. In the Memorandum Circular, should they not comply, a probe will be launched, based on what President Duterte has mentioned during a dialogue with the mayors. Once we see the gross negligence and dereliction of duty, we can recommend the suspension of the mayor. And the president, without second thought, will sign our recommendation for suspension),” the DILG undersecretary said.

According to Densing, the implementation of the memo will begin next week.

For Manila Mayor Isko Moreno – who happens to be DILG’s example, the 45-day period given is enough to clean a city of obstructions.

Photo credits: Rambo Talabong/Rappler.com

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