President Rodrigo Duterte wants public roads cleared of obstructions, particularly private structures and violators tolerated by local governments.
During his fourth State of the Nation Address yesterday, President Rodrigo Duterte addressed the issue of traffic congestion, citing that the country loses Php 3.5 billion a day due to traffic in Metro Manila. He then instructed the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and local government units (LGUs) to ensure the 'speedy and smooth flow of traffic' in their respective jurisdictions.
“Reclaim all public roads that are being used by private entities. Marami diyan (there are lot there),” said the President. He tackled the issue of officials not going along with the plan to clear the streets, stating that establishments (both formal and informal) that are favored by a city's government which impede the flow of traffic must be shut down. He went on to tell DILG (Department of Interior and Local Government) secretary, Eduardo Año, to suspend mayors or governors who refuse to comply.
"If there is a mayor or governor, kung sino kang demonyo ka, i-suspend mo (whoever demon he is, suspend him). Give him time, and if he cannot, isuspend mo na lang, wala tayong magawa (just suspend him, we cannot do anything). They just keep on pleasing their own constituents," said President Duterte.
The President was referring to unauthorized vendors, stalls, businesses, and illegally parked vehicles that choke up roads and are the subject of recent road clearing operations. Owners of these structures have frequently cited clearance from local government units like baranggays and city halls as the source of their permits and right to occupy these spaces.