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DPWH launches text drive vs road blocks

LEGAZPI CITY --- The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Bicol regional office has launched a text brigade designed to combat the recurring problem of road obstructions after the successful road clearing efforts launched early last year by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

To recall, DILG Sec. Eduardo Año launched the no-nonsense massive clearing operation in all road networks including barangay roads last year, to include demolition of private and government-funded structures within the 20-meter road right of way, said to be the major causes of traffic and road accidents.

Año’s directive exclusively tasked town and city mayors to implement the road clearing operation, with threat of suspension for those who will fail to comply with his order during the specified period.

DPWH Bicol regional director Virgilio Eduarte admitted the recurring problem of road obstructions.

In a staff meeting held last week with Region V’s 15 district engineers, Eduarte launched the text brigade campaign to once and for all clear the region’s road networks, including barangay roads with obstructions.

The text campaign required all DPWH personnel to report ongoing road activities, including those in barangays where the employees reside.

“This is more a preventive action,” said Eduarte in an interview.

He said text messages should include photos and videos to be sent to the Viber account of the head of the maintenance section of the concerned district engineering office, who would take action on the report on 24 hours basis.

Meanwhile, District engineers said that reports about old road obstructions such as residential, sari-sari store, vulcanizing and welding shops within the 20-meter road right of way were reported to the concerned local executives through letters. These reports were simply ignored by local officials, even if the local government unit (LGUs) have the police power to demolish or stop any activity affecting the road way that hamper traffic flow.

Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda lauded the DPWH text brigade campaign, saying roads should be cleared from obstructions 24/7 to maintain the regular flow of traffic and avoid accident.

Eduarte admitted that scores of privately-owned structures and government infrastructure projects affecting the road ways in Bicol’s six provinces and seven cities remain to be demolished.

He said that most of DPWH road widening projects are hampered by privately- owned structures, whose owners resort to legal action to demand bigger compensations, while demolition of waiting sheds and boundary markers awaits funding.

Eduarte said the Maharlika Highway in Sorsogon province, which is Luzon’s gateway to Visayas and Mindanao, has a successful road widening accomplishment because of the cooperation exerted by the LGUs and lawmakers.

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