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Road clearing operations extended

 

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) issued Saturday another order extending road clearing operations to Feb. 15.

The DILG had initially set the road clearing operation deadline to Jan. 15 but extended it to Jan. 22 due to the clamor of local government units (LGUs).

The deadline was put off anew after the DILG considered that the LGUs are preoccupied with their preparation for their COVID-19 vaccination plans.

The DILG has issued Memorandum no. 2021-007 tasking the LGUs to come up with a local vaccination plan that contains the preparation of risk communication plans and conduct of early vaccine communication campaign to disseminate critical information on COVID-19 vaccination.

The plan must also include a master list of priority eligible vaccine population; identification of possible vaccine centers, available cold chain storages, and other logistical requirements; and a master list of existing human resources and personnel needed in the vaccination program, among others.

“The department is fully cognizant of the urgency for LGUs to prepare their vaccination plans against COVID-19 that’s why the road clearing timeline is extended anew. This is, however, the last extension to be granted by the DILG,” said DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya.

“We need to give LGUs time to focus on their local vaccination plans so we are giving them more time to undertake their road-clearing operations,” he added.

Malaya noted the DILG’s validation of the LGUs’ compliance of road clearing operations which was extended from Jan. 18 to Feb. 16 has also been moved to March 2.

“The deadline of the submission of all consolidated validation reports from the DILG regional offices will be one week after the end of the validation period or on March 9, 2021.  We  will not allow any modification in the report after submission,” Malaya said.

In order to ensure close coordination on the submission of reports, Malaya said the DILG regional offices must designate one road clearing focal person whose names should be submitted to the DILG Central Office by Feb. 2.

Also, the DILG Regional Offices (ROs) were given until Feb. 9 to submit to the DILG Central Office (CO) a directory of the members of all their validation teams (VTs) for each province, city, and municipality within their region.

The VTs are composed of one representative each from the DILG, the Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), and civil society organization (CSO) and media.

In a recent memorandum prescribing the guidelines on the conduct of validation of LGU compliance on road clearing, DILG officer-in-charge (OIC) Undersecretary Bernardo C. Florece Jr. stressed the need to “cross-post” VTs to ensure the impartiality of the validation process.

This means that during the validation activities, VTs must not be assigned in their original LGU of assignment or residence.

“VTs for component cities and municipalities may be cross-posted within their respective provinces. VTs for provinces, highly urbanized cities (HUCs), and Independent Component Cities (ICCs) may be cross-posted within the region,’’ the DILG said.

For LGUs under general community quarantine (GCQ) with a required partial implementation of road clearing, the VTs will select three to 10 local roads within the LGU and assess whether road obstructions exist along or within the entirety of the selected roads.

“The schedule of the assessment will be determined solely by the VT.  The LGUs’ compliance on the ban of tricycles on national highways shall also be checked,’’ the DILG added.

Meanwhile, LGUs under the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) or post-quarantine scenario will be validated according to their full implementation of road clearing operations.

The seven components of road clearing operations are removal of road obstructions, enactment of an enabling ordinance, conduct of an inventory of road obstructions, crafting and implementation of a displacement plan, rehabilitation of cleared roads, creation of a grievance mechanism, and compliance with the ban on tricycles along national roads.

“The LGUs’ compliance on the ban of tricycles on national highways shall also be checked,’’ the DILG noted.

Within the validation period, the DILG said the LGUs shall submit reports detailing their compliance to the components of road clearing to the Validation Team. “Strictly no report, no score,” Malaya said.

The DILG enjoined the LGUs to submit to the VTs as attachments to the reports, photographs, videos, presentations, reports, and other means of verifications (MOVs) that support their compliance. (Chito Chavez)

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Written by Tempo Desk

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