After more than seven months of suspension, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has announced the resumption of the Road-Clearing Operation 2.0 (RCO 2.0) depending on the quarantine classification of the local government units (LGUs), giving 60 calendar days for local governments to comply with the Presidential directive.
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said that with the flattened COVID-19 curve and improved quarantine classification in various areas of the country, RCO 2.0 will officially commence on November 16 until January 15, 2021 giving LGUs ample time to comply.
“Sisimulan na po ulit ang road clearing starting November 16. We hope that the LGUs, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, will show the same enthusiasm and positive results that they were able to achieve last year as we aim for safer and accessible roads free from illegal and potentially hazardous encroachments,” Año said.
“Despite the January 15 deadline, we wish to remind the LGUs that RCO is year-long endeavor, kaya kailangan natin ang kanilang commitment at pakikiisa,” he added.
Early this week, President Rodrigo Duterte placed the entire National Capital Region and other areas of the country on General Community Quarantine (GCQ) for the whole month of November with no region in the country placed under the strictest community quarantine classification.
Through DILG Memorandum Circular 2020-145, Año said though that the resumption of RCO 2.0 will vary, in different degrees, depending on the quarantine classification of a certain area. “We may have resumed RCO 2.0 but we acknowledge the threat posed by COVID-19, hence, we still take into consideration the quarantine classification of the LGU.”
He said that full implementation of the RCO 2.0 will be enforced in areas under MGCQ and the New Normal or Post Quarantine Scenario. Partial implementation will be executed by LGUs under GCQ while in areas under MECQ and ECQ, the RCOs are suspended.
LGUs and barangays under a localized ECQ or MECQ may likewise suspend the implementation of RCO 2.0 regardless of their community quarantine classification.
In the said memorandum, Año said that partial implementation in areas under GCQ is limited to the actual removal or abatement of road and sidewalk obstructions that are considered dangerous to motorists and pedestrians and road clearing for the purpose of establishing bike lanes. Full implementation in MGCQ areas and below, he said, requires LGUs to adopt all components of the RCO as provided by DILG Memorandum Circular 2020-027.
All LGUs implementing RCO 2.0, according to Año, whether partial or full implementation, are expected to abide by the prescription of DILG Memorandum Circular 2020-027 released by the Department last February stipulating the policy on the continued implementation of the President’s order to clear roads of illegal obstructions.
Ridding streets of obstructions
DILG Secretary Año said that during the 60-day implementation of the RCO 2.0, LGUs must rid the streets of any obstruction as provided by DILG MC 2020-027. “We maintain the same resolve and principle as when we started this campaign. Ito po ay para sa kaginhawahan ng ating mga mamamayan and we expect the LGUs down to the barangays to deliver.”
According to the said memorandum, road obstructions such as vehicular terminals except in areas designated by the LGUs; vending sites; house encroachments that obstruct the right-of-way; debris, waste materials, and other junked items, among others must be cleared off roadways.
Meanwhile, DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan E. Malaya said that during the course of the implementation of the RCO 2.0, parked ambulance and public emergency vehicles; checkpoints established by IATF, LGUs, PNP, and AFP; and temporary obstructions caused by the establishment of bike lanes are exempted from being removed or apprehended.
Structures or obstructions erected for locally stranded individuals, Malaya said, must also be removed upon their return to their intended LGU destination.
He also said that banning of motorized pedicabs and tricycles on national roads and highways must be implemented by the LGUs notwithstanding the rules and guidelines set by the Department of Transportation on the operation of tricycles during the community quarantine period.
DILG Validation of LGU compliance, just like in the previous implementation of RCO, Malaya said, will be exercised in the provincial, municipal, and city levels on January 18-22, 2021. LGUs that fail to comply with the presidential directive will face administrative charges from the DILG.