MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has ordered Metro Manila mayors to clear the capital region’s roads within 60 days.
DILG Undersecretary Epimaco Densing relayed the directive of Interior Secretary Eduardo Año during the meeting with the Metro Manila Council (MMC) on Thursday, July 25.
In an ambush interview, Densing said that the order will be formalized through a memorandum circular that would also cover mayors across the Philippines.
“Within 60 days, we will say in the memorandum circular, that if they fail to do it in 60 days, we will hold an investigation following the directive of the President in his dialogue with the mayors, that if we see gross negligence of duty, dereliction of duty, we can recommend a suspension,” Densing said in a mix of English and Filipino.
Densing added, however, that there is “special emphasis” on Metro Manila mayors, apparently in view of the worsening traffic situation in the National Capital Region.
Cesar Chavez, the chief-of-staff of Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno, initially told reporters about the DILG order in a group message, which Densing later confirmed in the interview.
“SILG (DILG Secretary) wants you (city mayors) to clear roads within 60 days. Submit your operations plan to DILG,” Chavez quoted Densing as telling mayors during the meeting at the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) headquarters in Makati City.
Other tasks for the mayors: The DILG wants to find out how the mayors would complete the directive.
To do this, the department would also require the mayors to submit an inventory for its roads, its traffic plan, and its proposal on how to fix its problems.
The special emphasis on the capital region comes in the form of DILG’s top officials being assigned to watch over each city in Metro Manila.
These assignments, Densing said, would be clarified in the memorandum circular.
Why the order? The DILG issued the order following President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to mayors and governors in his 4th State of the Nation Address to reclaim public roads. (READ: Duterte’s Metro Manila traffic solution? Reclaim public roads)
Duterte said in his address that mayors who would not follow his order should be suspended.
Duterte’s order gives new life to his campaign commitment to fix the traffic of Metro Manila—a vow which he initially said would be completed within 6 months.
Año reitertated the President’s warning in an interview with radio DZBB on Thursday morning.
The meeting on Thursday is the MMC’s first after the 2019 elections. – Rappler.com