Benguet’s 13 towns pass road clearing validation

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – – All the 13 municipal local government units (LGUs) in this province complied with the presidential directive on road clearing operations and passed in the assessment carried out by the Provincial Road Clearing Validation Team.
Department of Interior and Local Government( DILG) Provincial Director Rufina Fegcan who headed the validation team, clarified that Kabayan which was included in the list of 97 LGUs nationwide that failed the road clearing directive actually passed. An assigned scoring in one of the parameters was inadvertently omitted and was discovered too late when the list was already out. Based on the rectified overall score, Kabayan got a perfect rating.
The clearing of roads of illegal structures and constructions is based on the directive or Memorandum Circular 2019-121 issued by President Rodrigo Duterte during his 2019 State-of-the-Nation Address.
Led by DILG, members of the team were from the Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection, Provincial Jail Warden’s Office and the Philippine Information Agency that went around the municipalities to monitor and confirm LGU compliance with the clearing of structures and constructions in public roads.
Rated were the cleared provincial and municipal roads even if majority of those cleared with obstructions were national roads.
Among the noted road obstructions that were cleared were wall extensions, elevated pavements, stairways or extended gateways put up by either business establishments or residential structures. Other observed obstructions were electric posts and parked vehicles, abandoned vehicles and equipment along the road and on sidewalks. Ambulant vendors were noted in Mankayan and Buguias.
There were also issues on titled lots along public roads and existence of titled properties even before the roads were constructed.
“All the municipalities were observed to be very receptive and participative in the implementation of this national directive coming from no less than Pres. Duterte himself,” Fegcan said.
Sharing their experiences in this presidential order, Mankayan Mayor Frenzel Ayong, a lawyer, still sought the legal opinion of a judge in the interpretation of the directive relative to the LGU’s mandate of road clearing operations.
He accommodated the displaced vendors from his municipality doing business in Buguias and relocated them within the property of the LGU. He caused the transfer of trikes parking along the roads to a portion of the market where they no longer are obstruction to pedestrians.
Buguias Mayor Ruben Tinda-an stood his ground in clearing road obstructions mostly along the national highway in Abatan not sparing the property of his father, former Vice Governor Robert Tinda-an.
Displaced ambulant vendors were accommodated at the newly constructed public market.
La Trinidad Mayor Romeo Salda said they followed due process in reclaiming public roads used for private purposes. They initially issued notices of obstruction followed by notices of demolition either voluntarily or LGU-initiated. The enforcement team awaited consent from those affected that were issued with notices prior to the clearing operations. The mayor said there was notably no resistance.
The LGU also demolished a police compact occupying portions supposedly for pedestrian use.
For Tuba, Pol Major James Acod said they established a staging area for trucks and tankers along Marcos Highway to decongest the roads and keep them away from occupying the road stretch all at the same time.
For Bokod LGU, displaced vendors were relocated to a private lot while trikes parking along the road were relocated to a more spacious area. Mayor Thomas Wales Jr said they still have to demolish public comfort rooms blocking the side walk and relocate it to a more spacious area.
Anthony, a trike driver in Bokod, said he likes better the relocation area for trike parking because it is safer.
Cattle walking or sleeping on roads were the obstructions mostly observed in Itogon. Mayor Victor Palangdan said the LGU bought ropes used to leash those found along the roads as they may cause accidents.
“Road clearing which is simply giving back to the public the access that is due them should be a lifestyle of every LGU,” said Fegcan. For Benguet, this is not hard to achieve as seen during the recently concluded road clearing validation in the province, she added. **JDP/SCA-PIA CAR, Benguet

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