Around 90 percent of sidewalks and public roads in the city’s downtown had been cleared of obstructions in the continuing crackdown against encroachers.

The Traffic Operations Management Enforcement and Control Office (Tomeco) reported on Wednesday that getting rid of the streets from illegal occupants is a continuing activity in the city that started August last year, heeding President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to reclaim public spaces used by private businesses and individuals.

This year, the road clearing will continue along Salazar Street, Rizal Avenue, and Veteranos Extension going to the outskirts of the downtown area including the Real Street, Sto. Niño, and Rizal Extensions.

Tacloban City engineering office head and Tomeco chief Dionisio de Paz said personnel will demolish structures illegally occupying the sidewalks, which is two meters from the existing curbs and gutters.

“We will not single out any establishment in this campaign. They are aware of the building code and have ample time to set back and adjust on their own. We want to decongest traffic,” de Paz said.

He added the problem of parking spaces has always been a topic during meetings with the Tacloban business club since some of their clients are occupying the sidewalks for parking.

The city government here has deployed enforcers tasked to run after violators of no parking ordinances and other traffic-related law violations.

“We impose a PHP500 fine per violation. If they take that for granted, we make sure that a subpoena from the city fiscal will be issued for legal sanctions. We want to make this a practice, so the public will strictly follow rules,” de Paz said.

On July 29, 2019, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año, through Memorandum Circular 2019-121, gave the mayors 60 days to “exercise their powers essential to reclaim public roads which are being used for private ends, and in the process rid them of illegal structures and constructions.”

For this city, the campaign continues to ensure that no one will return doing business on sidewalks. (PNA)