The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has just issued what could amount to an ultimatum to Mayors to hold kapitans accountable for road obstructions in their respective barangays.
The DILG is marching to the orders set by President Rodrigo Duterte in the statements that he made during the State of the Nation Address. Soon after, the DILG released Memorandum Circular 2019-121 in which the department ordered all local government officials to “reclaim public roads which are being used for private means and in the process rid them of illegal structures and obstructions”.
The MC was addressed to all provincial governors, mayors of municipalities and cities, barangay captains, the heads of local sanggunians, DILG regional directors, and more.
According to DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan E. Malaya, the national government expects the country's mayors to take charge to make sure that barangay captains in their respective cities or municipalities are compliant with the order.
Recently, structures that have been put up or built-up on public roads have been in the news. Such structures obstruct the flow of traffic, earning the ire of motorists.
“We have been deluged by complaints from the people about Barangay Captains who are failing to act and worse being complicit and actively tolerating road obstructions,” said Usec. Malaya in a report by PTV. “The mayors have to make them accountable because that’s their mandate and responsibility.”
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año, through the Department's spokesperson, said that it is not possible for Barangay Captains to have no knowledge about such structures. MC 2019-121 orders LGU officials to take action and get in line with the President's orders through the DILG.
“Barangay cooperation is crucial for the success of this program. And as elected leaders of their jurisdiction, the Mayors must exercise their power and put their foot down to ensure that barangays will follow the directive of the President seriously,” said Malaya.
The DILG spokesperson said that this must be done regardless whether the captains and mayors belong to the same political party or not. DILG's Malaya says that Mayors should reprimand or suspend barangay for not cooperating with the order to clear public roads of any illegal structures.
Interestingly enough, MC 2019-121 only pertains to structures but makes no mention of motor vehicles parked on public streets, illegally or not.