10 mayors face charges for failing to comply with road clearing directive

Mara Cepeda

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The DILG files administrative cases against the first 10 out of the 97 mayors who did not follow President Rodrigo Duterte's road clearing order

TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT. Motorists experience moderate to heavy traffic in Osmena Blvd Cebu City on a Rush Hour Monday, November 25, 2019. Photo by Gelo Litonjua/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Ten mayors are now facing administrative cases for failing to follow President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to clear main thoroughfares in their areas within 60 days.

In a statement on Sunday, January 5, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año said that they filed gross neglect of duty and grave misconduct cases with the Office of the Ombudsman against the following:

  • Mayor Reynaldo Marco of Baco, Oriental Mindoro
  • Mayor Tomas Bongalonta Jr of Pili, Camarines Sur
  • Mayor Dean Michael Singco of Ginatilan, Cebu
  • Mayor Edgar Tan of Pagsanghan, Samar
  • Mayor Boen Dorotheo Cabahug of Aurora, Zamboanga del Sur
  • Mayor Joel Sulong of Lapuyan, Zamboanga del Sur
  • Mayor Joseph Uayan of Sagay, Camiguin
  • Mayor Helenio Abecia of Guinsiliban, Camiguin
  • Mayor Antonio Baculio of Manticao, Misamis Oriental
  • Mayor Alicia Mori of Caraga, Davao Oriental 

Año said the 10 mayors were among 97 local chief executives who failed to properly answer the show cause orders issued to them by the DILG for not doing enough to clear the roads in their respective cities or municipalities. 

“Hindi tayo nagbibiro noong sinabi natin na handa tayong sampahan sila ng kaso (We weren’t kidding when we said we were ready to file cases against them). We took very seriously President Duterte’s order for the DILG to lead the road clearing efforts and file cases to non-compliant LGUs (local government units), if need be,” said Año.

The DILG is expected to file more cases against erring mayors in the coming weeks.  

“These first batch of mayors failed to perform their duty to clear their roads of obstructions, they did not develop or implement any displacement program or plan, they do not have any long-term rehabilitation and sustainability plan in place, and they failed to set up a feedback or grievance mechanism for their constituents; hence, we are compelled to seek their suspension from office,” said Año. 

Duterte had ordered all mayors to “reclaim all public roads that are being used for private ends” during his 4th State of the Nation Address in July 2019, giving them just 60 days – or until September 29 of the same year – to clear the roads. 

All of Metro Manila’s mayors complied with Duterte’s road clearing order. Other regions were not as lucky, however, as 97 local chief executives in these areas failed to follow the President’s directive. (READ: IN NUMBERS: How regions scored in the road clearing operations) 

DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya also said that they will soon issue a new 75-day road clearing operation, after officials noticed obstructions have returned on the thoroughfares during the holidays.  

“We hope that all our mayors understand that this is now a policy of the government until the end of this administration. They will have to lead and do their responsibilities, otherwise they will face charges and the threat of suspension,” Malaya said. – Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.