By Ali G. Macabalang
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has clarified anew that its ordered resumption of “road obstructions clearing” campaign does not cover street widening.
Under DILG Memo Circular 2020-145, Sec. Eduardo Año ordered the resumption of the road obstruction clearing drive starting November 16 up to Jan. 15, 2020, adding the campaign applies to all areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The campaign is a continuation of the same drive mandated under DILG MC 2019-121.
In the early implementation of the 2019 directive, Sec, Año said clarified that such drive was meant for road widening as misinterpreted in the countryside.
In a clarification statement, the DILG chuief said they received reports from La Union, Northern Samar, and other parts of the country that MC 121-2019 was allegedly being used by contractors of the DPWH and some Local Government Units (LGUs) to remove century-old trees, demolish waiting sheds that do not obstruct sidewalks, and even demolish structures in private lots without notice and just compensation.
He emphasized that MC 121-2019 cannot be used to justify road widening projects because that is covered by a different set of rule.“ For example, the taking by government of private property for road widening purposes requires expropriation proceedings and the payment of just compensation after due notice and hearing,” he said.
He urged all local government units and DPWH District Engineers to advise their respective contractors or workers of the purpose and coverage of MC 121-2019 and not to interpret it in another way.
DILG spokesperson, Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, had echoed the clarification of Sec. Año. But he could not be contacted for interview for update in the resumed campaign.
The Philippine Muslim Today e-newspaper reached Marjorie Jalosjos, DILG undersecretary for special and Mindanao concerns, this afternoon by phone.
Usec. Jalosjos said the same nature of implementation of road obstruction drive applies in the resumed campaign.
According to reports from barangay level, some elected city/municipal and barangay officials were allegedly poised to exploit the DILG order to focus on residences of people not allied with them road widening operations. (AGM)