Ginatilan, 9 other LGUs sued for failing to clear roads

THE Municipality of Ginatilan, Cebu is one of the 10 local government units (LGUs) in the country being sued by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) for failure to comply with the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte to clear the public roads of obstructions.

DILG Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III, in a Facebook live coverage, announced that they filed the complaints for grave misconduct and gross negligence before the Office of the Ombudsman on December 16. This is pursuant to the Local Government Code and other existing laws and policies.

Other respondents were the local chief executives of Guinsilban, Camiguin; Pili, Camarines Sur; Sagay, Camiguin; Manticao, Misamis Oriental; Pagsanjan, Samar; Caraga, Davao Oriental; Aurora, Zamboanga Del Sur; Baco, Oriental Mindoro; and Lapuyan, Zamboanga del Sur.

Out of the 1, 534 cities and municipalities, 101 failed during the assessment, 15 of which earned the lowest score.

“Zero road clearing talaga nila, failed lahat. Less than 50 percent yung score so kung pasang-awa is 70, eto 50. Responsibilidad po nila mapanatili na malinis ang kalsada, sidewalks para madaanan ng tao at sasakyan. Isa rin ito sa cause ng traffic,” he said.

(There were really zero road clearing, they failed all of it. The scores were less than 50 percent, so if the passing score is 70, they got 50. It's their responsibility to keep the streets, sidewalks clean so that people and vehicles could freely pass the roads. This is also one of the causes of traffic.)

Densing said they will also file cases against the remaining five LGUs who failed once the documentation will be completed. Although he did not specify the cities and municipalities, Densing said these are from Abra, Davao del Norte, Samar, Benguet, and Cebu.

“Yung lima hindi pa tapos yung documentation. Inuna na namin. Bago mag-Pasko, merong na tayong na-file-an na sampung munisipyo (The documentation of the five remains unfinished. We prioritized it. Before Christmas, we already filed suit for 10 municipalities). As promised, those who did not follow the Presidential directive on road clearing returning the public roads and public sidewalks to public use, yan kasohan na namin (that we will sue),” he said.

It was during his 2019 State of the Nation Address on July 22 when President Duterte gave the mayors 60 days or until September 29 to "reclaim all public roads that are being used for private ends.”

The series of validation was scheduled on September 30 to October 4 this year. Validation teams were created and composed of representatives from DILG, Philippine National Police, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Bureau of Fire Protection, civil society organization, and media.

“So na-document talaga, nakita nila mismo yung mga kalsada, sidewalk o bangketa sa mga lugar nito hindi po nilinis ng mga local chief executives, eto yung dahilan kung bakit sila kinakasuhan natin,” Densing said.

(So it was documented, they saw the roads, sidewalks or footpaths in their areas that were not cleared by local chief executives, this is the reason why we are suing them.)

The duly accomplished and signed validation report was submitted on or before October 5 to the office of Secretary Año thru the Bureau of Local Government Supervision.

The DILG used a four-tier rating system in evaluating the compliance of the LGUs based on the percentage of primary and secondary roads that they have cleared.

• High compliance - 91 to 100% of roads cleared

• Medium compliance - 81 to 90% roads cleared

• Low compliance - 70 to 80% roads cleared

• Failed - 70% or lower percentage of roads cleared

According to the DILG Memorandum Circular-121-2019, to be fully compliant, the LGU should also enact or revisit ordinances related to road clearing and banning of illegal construction, prepare an inventory of roads within their jurisdiction, develop and implement displacement strategies, and cause the rehabilitation of recovered public roads.

Those who were found to have failed were given opportunity to explain their side five days following the receipt of the show cause orders that will be issued by the central office.

Densing said further that the road clearing initiative will not end with the filing of cases but is something the LGUs will be continuously doing.

“Sinabi nating 'pag hindi kayo nagtrabaho, hindi kayo sumunod sa direktiba ng Pangulo, ni Secretary Año, then kakasohan po namin kayo,” he said.

(We said that if you will not work, you are not following the directive of the president, Secretary Año, which is why we are suing you.)

“Tapos na po yung panahon na meron tayong tatamad-tamad na mga mayors. Yung mga mayors na tatakbo sa 2022, kasama to sa trabaho nyo. Kung ayaw nyo gawing trabaho, wag kayong tumakbong mayor. Napakasimple,” Densing added.

(It is time to put an end to lazy mayors. The mayors who are running in 2022, this is part of your job. If you don't like making it your job, don't run. It's that simple.)

Año earlier said that no LGU garnered a 100 percent compliance score. He considered the nationwide road clearing efforts to be successful with 75 percent of the roads in the inventory being cleared.

DILG Central Visayas Director Leocadio Trovela said the Duterte administration envisions to sustain the road clearing effort by holding quarterly evaluation at the barangay level.

In Central Visayas, the compliance rate of all LGUs reached 91%.

All the highly urbanized cities of Cebu, Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue are compliant to the road clearing order. However, 12 out of the 113 cities and municipalities in Central Visayas unfortunately fell short of the compliance rate based on the final review on the results of the validation efforts. (PR)