The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) field office here has formed a team tasked to demolish structures illegally occupying public roads.
DPWH Southern Leyte district engineering office chief Ma. Margarita Junia said in a phone interview on Wednesday their office is firm in informing property owners that it is unlawful for anyone to convert any part of the public highway for private use.
“I have already directed my engineers to check the sites with encroachment, identify the property owners, measure the distance, and mark the structures that need demolition. After we finish our inventory, sending notices will follow,” Junia said.
Demolition will be more concentrated in areas with approved and proposed funding for widening and off-carriageway to make sure that the implementation of road widening this year will be done smoothly.
Aside from sending notices, the DPWH field office in Southern Leyte has already initiated a dialogue and negotiation with encroachers. “If they will resist removing the obstructions, legal actions will be undertaken,” Junia added.
Encroachment problem is serious in Maasin City, the provincial capital and in the towns of Sogod and Bontoc and other commercial centers where some local government-owned structures are also within the road-right-of-way (RROW).
Among the listed RROW obstructions are buildings, houses, shanties, stores, shops, sheds, posts, canopies, billboards, signage, advertisement, including fences, walls, railings, basketball courts, garbage receptacles, plants, and plant boxes.
Also considered as an encroachment are driveways and ramps occupying or protruding to the sidewalk; humps; construction materials such as gravel, sand, cement, lumber, steel bars, waste materials, among others; and vehicles and equipment that are junked, parked, and occupying or protruding to the sidewalk or shoulder.
The DPWH has yet to find out the specific number of encroachers along Southern Leyte’s primary highway.
The said move complies with a department order directing the strict enforcement of existing orders on the removal of obstructions and prohibiting use within the RROW on national highways. (PNA)