The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has granted a one-week extension of the deadline of the Department’s Road Clearing Operation 2.0 (RCO 2.0) following the requests by local government units (LGUs) to give them more time to clear roads of obstructions.
DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said that upon the request of local chief executives, the deadline for RCO 2.0, which was supposed to be today, will instead be on January 22, 2021 with the validation starting January 25, 2021.
“We extended the deadline for RCO 2.0 because these are extraordinary times; we are in a pandemic and LGUs have a lot on their plate. We understand the request so the Department granted it,” he said.
The DILG announced last year the resumption of RCO 2.0 on November 16, 2020, giving the LGUs 60 days to comply with President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to rid streets of illegal obstructions and ‘to return roads and major thoroughfares to the people.’
Malaya said that with the extension of the deadline, the DILG is giving LGUs more time to ensure full compliance with the program issued through DILG Memorandum Circular 2020-145. “This is, in a way, a little help to the LGUs as so that they have more time to comply with the President’s directive.”
In 2019, 101 out of 1,245 LGUs nationwide were found non-compliant of the road clearing directive of the President and were issued show cause orders. Fifteen of these were filed with administrative cases by the DILG.
“The RCO 2.0 remains to be one of the major programs of the DILG, kaya naman, we aim to maintain the same standards as before,” he added.
Through DILG Memorandum Circular 2020-145, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said RCO 2.0 is different, depending on the quarantine classification of a certain area. Full implementation of the RCO 2.0 is enforced in areas under MGCQ and the New Normal or Post Quarantine Scenario. Partial implementation is executed by LGUs under GCQ while in areas under MECQ and ECQ, the RCOs is suspended.
The DILG Spokesperson said that prior to the start of the validation period on January 25-February 5, 2021, the DILG shall create Validation Teams (VTs), in coordination with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), for each province, city and municipality.
These VTs, he said, will also be crossed-posted to ensure the impartiality of the validation process. “This time around mayroon tayong VTs na established at cross-posted, meaning, kung taga-Quezon City sila hindi sila puwede mag-validate sa QC, dapat nasa Taguig City sila o alin mang ibang lungsod,” he explained.
He said their LGU of assignment during the validation must not be their original LGU of designation or residence. VTs will be composed of a representative from the DILG; the PNP; the BFP; and, one representative from a civil society organization (CSO) or the local media.
VTs for Component Cities and Municipalities may be cross-posted within their respective provinces while for Provinces, Highly Urbanized Cities (HUCs), and Independent Component Cities (ICCs) may be cross-posted within the region.
To reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 and other health risks, Malaya said that DILG Regional Directors are also enjoined to consider the minimization of travel in the cross-posting of the VTs.
Among the validation requisites are the actual 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; as well as the Tricycle Route Plan.