Last week, the Department of Interior Local and Government (DILG) ordered barangays to clear local roads of obstructions. The gov't agency has given local government units (LGUs) 75 days to clear the roads, and warned that each barangay captain's performance will be assessed.

Given that illegally-parked vehicles might be towed, the DILG has recently ordered that the LGUs also designate impounding areas for towed vehicles. Through Memorandum Circular 2020-031, DILG Secretary Año stated that cities and towns are mandated to set up impounding areas for the safekeeping of illegally parked vehicles, as well as those involved in road accidents or breakdowns.

"Isa ring nakasasagabal sa ating mga lansangan ay ang mga nakahambalang na sasakyan na kung saan-saan na lang tumitigil at pumaparada. Ang mga illegally parked vehicles ay kailangang i-tow at dalhin sa impounding area. [Another obstacle to our roads are vehicles that just stop and park anywhere. These illegally parked vehicles must be towed and brought to the impounding area. It is, therefore, incumbent upon cities and municipalities to designate impounding areas for the safekeeping of towed vehicles]," said Año. "It is, therefore, incumbent upon cities and municipalities to designate impounding areas for the safekeeping of towed vehicles."

Apart from this, Año asked local sannguinans to pass ordinances that specifiy guidelines on towing, impounding, and releasing of impounded vehicles, as well as the respective penalties. He also said that such ordinances must be consistent with national laws and policies so that they shall not be unreasonable or discriminatory.

The new Memorandum Circular is a direct supplement of M.C. 2019-121 wherein LGUs are mandated to reclaim roads and revoke parking permits of private vehicles on public roads. Moreover, M.C. 2020-031 also coincides with M.C. 2020-004, in which it revisits the city / municipal tricycle and pedicab franchise and regulatory ordinance on the use of public roads, pathways and alleys.

"Kahanay po nito ang isa pa naming direktiba, ang MC2020-004, na sumasakop sa operasyon ng mga tricycle kasama ang pagbibigay ng prangkisa. Ang mga tricycle ang madalas na sakit ng ulo ng mga traffic enforcer lalo na kung walang terminal at kung saan-saan na lang nag-aabang ng pasahero, [This in line with our other directive, MC2020-004, which covers tricycle operations including the provision of franchises. Tricycles are a frequent headache for traffic enforcers especially when there are no terminals and they just go everywhere waiting for passengers]" added Año.

With the new Memorandum Circular from the DILG, let's hope the LGUs can establish safe and proper impound lots.