Mayors given 60 days to clear roads and sidewalks from obstructions

THE DEPARTMENT of Interior and Local Government (DILG) will soon release a formal directive to local government units (LGUs) to clear roads and sidewalks from obstructions within 60 days, and mayors who fail to do so could face suspension. DILG Undersecretary Epimaco V. Densing III cited illegal vendors and illegally parked cars as causes of traffic. “Kapagdi nila nagawa ‘yung paglilinis ng (If they fail to comply within) 60 days, magkakaroon kami ng imebstigasyon (we will conduct an investigation)…. once we see that there is gross negligence of duty, we can recommend a suspension of the mayor, and the President, without second thought, will sign our recommendation,” said Mr. Densing in a chance interview with reporters during the Metro Manila Council meeting on Thursday. During his State of the Nation Address last Monday, President Rodrigo R. Duterte called for the smooth flow of traffic, particularly in urban areas. Mr. Densing also said that local councils should review their respective traffic ordinances, while LGUs should consider having their own towing equipment for illegally parked vehicles. — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras

Bill on ROTC alternative filed

A BILL providing for an alternative Citizen Service Program, instead of the proposed mandatory Reserved Officers’ Training Corp. (ROTC), has been filed in the Senate. Senator Imee R. Marcos, in filing Senate Bill No. 413, opposed President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s request to revive the ROTC for students in Grades 11 and 12. “Nag-o-offer ako ng choice sa (I am offering another choice from) ROTC,” Ms. Marcos said in a briefing on Thursday, noting that the mandatory military training is against United Nations resolutions signed by the Philippines. “We can’t allow our youth to go through that,” she said. The bill’s proposed Citizen Service Program will be offered from grade school up to college. — Charmaine A. Tadalan

Spokesman reassures teachers Duterte will keep campaign promise

MALACAÑANG ON Thursday said President Rodrigo R. Duterte is not dropping his campaign promise to “double” the salaries of teachers. Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo made the statement after the President said teachers’ salaries will now be adjusted just “a little bit” in the proposed new Salary Standardization Law. In a press briefing, Mr. Panelo said the President is “definitely not” dropping his campaign promise to public school teachers to double their salaries. “Love niya ang mga teachers (He loves teachers),” the spokesman said. In his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) last Monday, the President said of the teachers’ salary increase: “It is now time for Congress to approve a new version of the Salary Standardization Law. Ngayon na (It must be now).” He added, “And to the teachers — who toil and work tirelessly to educate our young, kasali na po dito ‘yung hinihingi ninyo. Hindi naman masyadong malaki, pero (this will include what you have been asking for. It will not be much but) it will tide you over during these hard times. A little bit bigger than before.” — Arjay L. Balinbin

DoTr, LTO, ImagineLaw sign deal to push for strict speed limit implementation

THE DEPARTMENT of Transportation (DOTr) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and non-government organization ImagineLaw to jointly push for the nationwide implementation of speed limits through the local government units (LGUs). The MoU is contained under Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 2018-001, which provides the Guidelines and Standards for the Classification of Roads, Setting of Speed Limits under Republic Act No. 4136, and Collection of Road Crash Data. At the signing, DOTr Undersecretary for Road Transport and Infrastructure Mark Richmund M. de Leon also encouraged citizens to participate in the campaign by calling on their local leaders to implement the ordinance. “It will be jointly enforced by LTO and the local government units kaya ‘pag nagkaroon na sila ng ordinansa (so once they have the local ordinance)… the local government themselves can enforce the speed limit ordinance,” he said. Under the JMC, the DOTr is tasked to fund training activities for the speed enforcement training of LGUs, which will be conducted by ImagineLaw by bringing in international policing experts. The LTO will be ensuring that the effort will be sustained through information, education, and communication campaigns. ImagineLaw Executive Director Sophia Monica V. San Luis said a related website called “Dahan-dahan sa Daan” will be launched in September. — Vincent Mariel P. Galang