MANILA Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Gen. Oscar Albayalde on Tuesday led the demolition of the Police Community Precinct (PCP) 6 in West Crame, San Juan City which is built on a sidewalk.
The move is in response to President Rodrigo Duterte's call for local government officials during his State of the Nation Address (SONA) last week to reclaim public roads and rid these of obstruction in order to ease traffic congestion.
This is in support to the call of the President to ease traffic not just in Metro Manila but in the whole country as he cited in his SONA that the country is losing billions of pesos a month due to traffic congestion. Especially here in San Juan, we know that the area is crowded, we have many PCPs that are in sidewalks. And because the people see that these are in sidewalks, they will imitate them and build structures. We don't want that, Albayalde told reporters, who personally demolished the PCP 6 together with National Capital Region Police Office director, Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar and San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora.
Albayalde, however, said Zamora assured him that he will provide a better place for the local police.
He also assured that the demolition of the precincts will not hamper police service in the community.
"You could just imagine, there is a PCP here and a gate of Camp Crame is located here. Walking distance only. If there is an emergency, they can come to Camp Crame," Albayalde said.
"All Metro Manila PCPs that are encroaching sidewalk center islands will be demolished. Eventually, we will coordinate with LGUs on where to transfer these, Eleazar said.
The PNP will provide the muscle, I am committing NCRPO to support the 17 local government executives (of Metro Manila) to effectively implement this order, the NRCPO chief stressed.
Zamora reiterated that the DILG gave Metro Manila mayors 60 days to remove and ease public spaces during the discussion with city mayors and law enforcement agencies on Monday.
As the chief executive of San Juan City, I am supporting this directive. In fact, I thank PNP chief Albayalde and NCRPO chief Eleazar for taking the lead in this move. Even if it is a structure of the police or barangay, if it is an illegal one, we will remove it to show everyone that there will be no sacred cows, Zamora told reporters when sought for a comment.
In a separate statement, PNP spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said Albayalde will soon order other regional directors in police region offices to launch demolition operations to remove police community precincts which established in sidewalks and other public roads nationwide.
Road clearing operations cover all LGUs
Meanwhile, DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan E. Malaya clarified on Tuesday that the directive issued Monday by the Department in line with President Duterte's instruction to clear roads of obstructions covers all local government units across the country.
No local government is exempted from the directive. We are just giving extra attention to Metro Manila because the problem of road obstructions is most acute in the National Capital Region but the memorandum circular covers the entire country, said Malaya.
He explained that since the instruction to reclaim public roads which are being used for private ends came from the President himself, the directive applies not only to NCR but to the rest of the country.
As DILG Secretary Eduardo M. AAo said, this should be a nationwide undertaking. Hindi lang naman sa Metro Manila ma-traffic kundi pati sa Cebu, Iloilo, at sa iba pang lugar sa ating bansa (Traffic is not just a problem in Metro Manila but also in other areas such as Cebu and Iloilo). So, the instruction to DILG to recommend the suspension of negligent mayors also applies to those in the provinces, he said.
On Monday, DILG issued Memorandum Circular 2019-121 directing all governors, mayors, and barangay chairpersons to exercise their powers essential to reclaim public roads, rid them of illegal structures and constructions, rehabilitate them by placing street names and street lights and carry out strategies to address possible displacement issues.
We expect all DILG field officers in the provinces to immediately meet with their respective mayors to brief them on the guidelines issued by Secretary AAo on the implementation of the President's SONA directive and to ensure their compliance, said Malaya.
Since the road clearing efforts will be a continuing activity, DILG regional offices are also obliged to submit weekly compliance and progress reports to the Office of the DILG Secretary during the 60-day compliance period.
According to him, similar to Metro Manila Mayors, local chief executives outside of NCR may also be recommended for suspension if no significant improvement is seen in their respective areas after the lapse of the 60-day deadline.
We want to send a strong message that we in the DILG mean business and we will make sure that everyone complies with the President's directive, he said. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency