By Filane Mikee Cervantes
MANILA — Senator Francis Tolentino on Tuesday reminded local government units (LGUs) to take a more people-oriented approach in their clearing operations of public roads.
Tolentino, who chairs the Senate committee on local government, said LGUs must consider the people’s welfare, especially those affected vendors while heeding President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to reclaim public spaces used privately to decongest the traffic gridlock in the metropolis.
“Importante na malinis natin ang mga sidewalk. Malaki ang tulong nito sa pag luwag ng daloy ng trapiko, pero may maayos na lugar na ba tayong natukoy, kung saan ilalagay ang mga vendor na aalisin natin sa lugar? (It is important to clear the sidewalks. This is a huge help in decongesting the flow of traffic, but have we identified places for affected vendors to transfer to?),” Tolentino said during his panel’s hearing.
“Dapat siguraduhin din natin na may maayos silang malilipatan, hindi dapat maapektuhan ang kabuhayan nila, otherwise babalik lang din sila sa mga sidewalk (We need to ensure that they have a place to transfer to, their livelihood should not be affected, otherwise they will just go back to the sidewalks),” he added.
On July 29, 2019, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, through Memorandum Circular 2019-121, gave the mayors 60 days “to exercise their powers essential to reclaim public roads which are being used for private ends, and in the process rid them of illegal structures and constructions.”
The DILG’s memo circular complies with the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte for the department to ensure that LGUs will rid public roads of obstructions to ease traffic congestions.
Tolentino also proposed a possible solution to ease the traffic problem, citing Republic Act 11201 giving the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development the power to “open roads of subdivisions to the public when the general welfare requires it upon consultation with stakeholders.” (PNA)