DILG to mayors: Clear roads in 45 days or face suspension

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 25) — Local government officials on Thursday were directed to clear all roads in a bid to reclaim public spaces as ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government gave mayors 45 days to clear obstructions on public roads and sidewalks, including removal of illegal structures, illegally-parked vehicles, and illegal vending.

The DILG said that if the city mayors fail to do their duty, the department will recommend their suspension, which will surely be supported by Duterte.

DILG Undersecretary Epimaco Densing said the memorandum circular, which will cover the entire country, is being drafted and expected to be finished soon. He said the 45-day deadline will start once the memo is finalized.

"If they do not do this we are prepapred to investigate and if we feel that they did not do their duties we will defitely recommend the suspension of the mayor of their duties," Densing said. 

Several cities in Metro Manila, including Manila City and San Juan, started their clearing operations upon the newly-minted mayors' assumption of office.

Duterte, during his fourth State of the Nation Address on Monday, proposed another solution to counter road congestion in Metro Manila. He instructed local government officials, transport officials, specifically the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to reclaim public roads used for private purposes. He also told the DILG to suspend mayors and governors who refuse to act on his order.

A 2018 report by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) revealed that the Philippines is losing ₱3.5 billion a day due to traffic congestion in the metropolis. JICA, in a later study, said the country is also projected to lose ₱5.4 billion to traffic daily by 2035 if no interventions are made.

This is a developing story.