The Department of Local & Interior Government (DILG) just gave local government units (LGUs) more time to clear road obstructions amid the pandemic. It's because the government agency announced the deadline extension for the Road Clearing Operation 2.0 (RCO).

Instead of the original January 22, 2021 deadline, the DILG has moved it to February 15, 2021. It was done in consideration of the need for LGUs to come up with local vaccination plans.

Under Memorandum Circular 2021-007, LGUs were tasked to come up with a vaccination plan. Here, LGUs will have to have communication plans and an early vaccine communication campaign to disseminate critical information regarding vaccination.

LGUs must list down priority eligible vaccine population, identification of possible vaccine centers, available cold storages, and logistical requirements. A master list of existing human resources and personnel needed in the program as well.

“The Department is fully cognizant of the urgency for LGUs to prepare their vaccination plans against Covid-19 that’s why the road clearing timeline is extended anew. This is, however, the last extension to be granted by the DILG,” said Jonathan Malaya, DILG Undersecretary, and spokesperson.

With that, the validation of LGUs' compliance to the RCO 2.0 has also been moved from January 18 to February 16 – March 2, 2021. Malaya added that the deadline for the submission of reports from DILG regional offices will be one week after the end of the validation period or on March 9, 2021.

The DILG initially suspended all road clearing operations last March 16, 2020, for LGUs to focus on the pandemic. Rather than clearing streets, the LGUS focused all their efforts and resources to deal with the community quarantine. It was only in October 2020 that the DILG announced the resumption of RCO 2.0.

Depending on the quarantine classification, areas under MGCQ can fully implement RCO 2.0, while zones under GCQ are only allowed partial implementation. All districts that are under MECQ and ECQ will have no road clearing operations whatsoever.

With LGUs now busy with RCO 2.0 and the pandemic, they need all the time they can get to meet the DILG's requirements.