As the 60-day countdown to clear road obstructions progresses, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) urges mayors to put their foot down, impose their authority, and hold barangay captains accountable for road obstructions.
DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan E. Malaya says that in clearing roads of illegal structures and obstructions, mayors are expected to take the lead and ensure that barangay captains within their jurisdiction are cooperating and compliant.
“We have been deluged by complaints from the people about Barangay Captains who are failing to act and worse being complicit and actively tolerating road obstructions. The mayors have to make them accountable because that’s their mandate and responsibility,” he says.
"Barangay cooperation is crucial for the success of this program. And as elected leaders of their jurisdiction, the Mayors must exercise their power and put their foot down to ensure that barangays will follow the directive of the President seriously," says Malaya.
Malaya reminds the mayors that they are the disciplining authority of barangay captains under the Local Government Code and not the national government. "Impose your authority. Huwag ninyo nang iasa pa ang pagbabantay sa mga barangay sa ating National Government."
Section 32 of the Local Government Code states that "The city or municipality, through the city or municipal Mayor concerned, shall exercise general supervision over component Barangays to ensure that said Barangays act within the scope of their prescribed powers and functions."
He says that if need be, in cases of resistance from barangay officials, the Mayors must exercise their political will and discipline these uncooperative community leaders.
On July 29, 2019, DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año, through Memorandum Circular 2019-121, gave mayors 60 days “to exercise their powers essential to reclaim public roads which are being used for private ends, and in the process rid them of illegal structures and constructions.”
The DILG’s memo circular is in compliance with the SONA directive of President Rodrigo Duterte for the Department to ensure that LGUs shall clean up public roads of obstructions in order to ease traffic congestion in the metropolis.
According to Malaya, now that the midterm elections are over, political affiliations should no longer be an issue because "officials must only focus on their mandate of delivering the needed service to the people."
"Tapos na ang eleksyon. Trabaho na ngayon. Regardless of whether kapartido o hindi, they should suspend or reprimand Barangay captains who do not comply with the President’s directive," the DILG Spokesperson says.
Malaya explains that road obstructions will not happen without the knowledge of the Barangay Captain.
"Sabi nga ni Secretary Año, imposibleng wala silang alam sa pagtatayo ng mga road obstruction na ‘yan. It is just proper that they rectify their actions by cooperating to the clearing operations of the local government unit," he says.
The DILG Undersecretary also adds that barangay halls on sidewalks should be self-demolished by the Barangay, together with other obstructions leading to main roads and thoroughfares.