The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) emphasized Thursday that its Memorandum Circular 121-2019 is only for purposes of removal of road obstructions and cannot be used for road widening purposes.
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said that they received reports from La Union, Northern Samar, and other parts of the country that MC 121-2019 was allegedly being used by contractors of the DPWH and some Local Government Units (LGUs) to remove century-old trees, demolish waiting sheds that do not obstruct sidewalks, and even demolish structures in private lots without notice and just compensation.
“We wish to emphasize that the purpose of MC 121-2019, in compliance with the directive of the President, is to ‘return to public use, all public roads and sidewalks that have been appropriated for private use.’ In other words, it is for purposes of returning to the public the use of all public roads and it should never be used for road-widening purposes,”he said.
He emphasized that MC 121-2019 cannot be used to justify road widening projects because that is covered by a different set of rules.“For example, the taking by government of private property for road widening purposes requires expropriation proceedings and the payment of just compensation after due notice and hearing,”he said.
The DILG Chief urged all Local Government and DPWH District Engineers to advise their respective contractors of the purpose and coverage of MC 121-2019 and not to interpret it in another way.
Meanwhile, with 10 days to go before the end of the 60-day deadline, Año also created validation teams to ensure that local government units (LGUs) in the country are"on the same page in implementing DILG MC No.2019-121."
DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said that the validation teams will assess the compliance of the various LGUs with the Presidential directive.
"This is another effort of the DILG to reach out to all LGUs nationwide and make certain that they are complying with the President's orders. We are inching towards the 60-day deadline and, of course, we want to yield a 100 percent compliance,"said Malaya.
Malaya said that the DILG validation team will be composed of: a DILG officer cross-posted from a different LGU, a representative from the local Philippine National Police unit; a representative from the local Bureau of Fire Protection Station; representatives from accredited civil society organizations; and a representative from the Media.
"Within 60 calendar days, significant results must be achieved, documented, and reported together with the efforts of the LGUs to sustain the same,”he said.
All DILG DILG Regional Directors (RDs) were also directed to"personally meet and interface with local chief executives (LCEs) of all towns and cities within their jurisdiction"for the smooth implementation of MC 121-2019.
"As we have expressed before, we do not want to make the impression that this road-clearing operation is exclusive to the LGUs in Metro Manila, and now that the message was clearly received, we want to follow through by going down and see the progress made by these LGUs in their respective jurisdictions,”said Malaya.
He said that all DILG RDs are expected to discuss with their respective LGUs the status of the implementation of the DILG MC 2019-121; determine the actions undertaken and to be undertaken by the LGUs; and provide assistance to the LGUs particularly on the remaining measures to be taken such as road-clearing, reclaiming roads, and road rehabilitation.
They must also profile the various obstructions identified based on the road inventory and report the number and kind of obstruction for the information and action of concerned DILG Undersecretaries and Assistant Secretaries designated in their region.
The DILG Secretary also assigned all his Undersecretaries and Assistant Secretaries to all cities in Metro Manila together with all of the regions in the country to monitor compliance with the Presidential directive. ###