The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and local government units on Monday resumed their campaign to reclaim and clear public roads in the National Capital Region of all obstructions.
The resumption came eight months after the government decided to suspend the campaign due to the coronavirus disease pandemic. It also aims to ease traffic along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) this holiday season when traffic is expected to be heavy.
The MMDA. with the help from police personnel and local enforcers, started the road clearing operations along Mabuhay Lanes, which serves as alternate routes for private vehicles avoiding the congested EDSA.
The government is also reactivating the Mabuhay Lane routes scheme to help private motorists avoid heavy traffic, specially during rush hours.
MMDA chairman Danilo Lim said all illegally parked motor vehicles, both in major and secondary roads, will be towed away and violators will be apprehended and slapped with corresponding fines and penalties
“Local chief executives have asked for our assistance in reclaiming public roads and clearing areas in their jurisdiction from all kinds of obstruction. We appeal for the cooperation of everyone as we aim for accessible roads free from illegal obstructions,” said Lim.
Meanwhile, the Department of the Interior and Local Government enjoins the MMDA and local government units to observe minimum health standards when conducting the road clearing operations.
The authorities who will conduct clearing operations are required to wear face masks and face shields, practice physical distancing and other safety protocols to prevent possible transmission of coronavirus disease.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said earlier that after eight months of suspension due to the global pandemic, road clearing operations will resume all over the country except in areas under the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) or higher and those still flooded due to recent typhoons.
For those under general community quarantine (GCQ), they shall do a partial implementation of road clearing operations.
It is limited to the actual or physical removal or abatement of road and sidewalk obstructions that are considered hazardous to motorists and pedestrians.
These are unauthorized parked vehicles, illegal structures, nuisances, and any other structures erected along or standing on, made immovable or otherwise, that impede safe and convenient passage through public road or sidewalk.
The partial implementation also includes road clearing to establish bicycle lanes.
“The road clearing operations are needed to ensure orderliness as we revive local economies without being complacent against COVID-19. Our transition to the ‘new normal’ calls for the need to ensure that our roads remain safe, accessible, and free from illegal and potentially hazardous encroachments,” Ano said.
The road clearing operations was reactivated based on the DILG Memorandum Circular 2020-145 giving LGUs 60 days, from November 16 to January 15, 2021 to comply with the presidential directive to clear roads of illegal structures and obstructions.
Año said full implementation includes the removal of road and sidewalk obstructions, conduct of road inventories, physical removal of road obstructions without prejudice to the property rights of the affected stakeholders, crafting and implementation of displacement plans, rehabilitation, and maintenance of cleared roads, and creation of a grievance mechanism.
The DILG chief clarified that LGUs are not expected to conduct road clearing in villages, subdivisions, barrios, or along roads, streets, or alleys that are declared to be under localized ECQ or MECQ.
President Rodrigo Duterte, during his fourth State of the Nation Address, mentioned he wants to reclaim and clear public roads in the NCR of all obstructions.