DPWH-1 seeks police assistance in securing right of way

SAN FERNANDO CITY, May 24 – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in Ilocos has sought assistance from the Regional Law Enforcement Coordinating Council (RLECC-1) in securing right of way along Manila North Road.

Engineer Josie Oamar, chief of the regional maintenance division of DWPH-1, said that some of their personnel who conduct clearing operations on obstructions along the MNR and other major thoroughfares have been experiencing different problems which cause delay of project implementation and completion.

“Sometimes they even encountered situations where they were chased by irate residents armed with bolo during the clearing operations along the Manila-North-Road,” Oamar said during the recent RLECC-1 meeting here.

She furthered that since their Department has no police power to arrest these people, their personnel usually just leave the area at once to prevent themselves from being harmed thus, delaying the timely implementation of infrastructure projects.

Engineer Jemark M. Kuan, Engineer II of the DPWH La Union Second Engineering District also said that “during delivery of notices to residents or establishments listed as road obstructions, the owners would often deny or decline receiving these notices and are often being hot-tempered once they read the content.”

Kuan, whose area of concentration is along the Agoo-Baguio Road, said that other concerned residents would insist that the area identified is part of their property, to a point where even mountain slopes are utilized for planting crops.

DPWH Department Order No. 73 series of 2014 or the “Prohibited Uses within the Road- Right-of-Way of National Roads” aims to recover the road right of way for the safety of the public.

The said Order also states that the allotted lane width for national road is 10 meters from the center line for both sides or a total of 20 meters from the center.

“The primary lane width is 3.35 meters on both sides or 6.7 meters from the center line, so there are 3.3 meters remaining for widening shoulders, but what usually happens is that residents or establishment owners utilize the remaining area for structures of their own, claiming that it is rightfully included as their property and not by the government,” Kuan quipped.

Kuan added that what they do is to send notices not just to the residents or stall establishment owners but to the barangay captains and even the mayors concerned.

For obstructions like trees and electrical posts, notices are sent to the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources and to the electric companies and distribution utilities.

As the RLECC 1 chair and Police Regional Office 1 Director, Chief Supt. Charlo C. Collado assured that police personnel are now providing assistance to the DPWH whenever they deliver notices and during implementation of clearing obstructions as requested by the DPWH.

RLECC-1 is a special body of all law enforcement agencies of the government in the region involved in the enforcement of general and special laws. (Miriam P. Aquino/PIA-1, La Union)