ILOILO City – What happens after a barangay hall obstructing a road is demolished? Barangay halls that encroach on roads and sidewalks are not exempt from the road clearing operation of the city government.
According to Liga ng mga Barangay president Irene Ong, many barangay councils, most especially in the City Proper, do not have their own lots; they thus erected barangay halls on roads or on privately-owned lots.
One such barangay hall belonged to the village council of Nonoy in the City Proper. The city government’s Task Force on Anti-Squatting and Illegal Structures (Task Force ASIS) and Public Safety and Transportation Management Office (PSTMO) demolished it.
So where will the barangay council of Nonoy hold its regular session? Where will villagers who have transactions with the barangay captain go?
According to Ong, the barangay captain may temporarily hold office in his house.
Barangay council members may also hold sessions in the barangay captain’s house, Ong added.
Barangay Nonoy officials, however, agreed to temporarily hold office at the Iloilo Central Market.
At the time of this writing, Ong did not have the figures on how many barangay halls have been demolished since the operation against road obstructions started late last month.
But Ong said the affected barangays could ask help from the city government.
Road clearing operations have been going smoothly. Demolition teams have not met resistance from owners of road obstructions, said PSTMO chief Jeck Conlu.
In fact, some owners were voluntarily removing or demolishing the obstructions, he said.
Barangay officials were also cooperative, said Conlu.
“Nagpang-dismantle na sila daan so gamay na lang ang amon ginpang-dismantle,” said Love Joy Hosenilla, head of Task Force ASIS.
Most of the road obstructions removed were sari-sari stores.
Even the barangay hall of Alalasan was not spared as it was illegally erected in the road right of way, said Conlu.
President Rodrigo Duterte, during his fourth State of the Nation Address on July 22, urged local governments to reclaim all public roads that are being used for private ends.
“This is a direct order from the President. The city government is complying or we will face suspension,” said Mayor Jerry Treñas.
He added: “Indi lang ako. Barangay officials will also be suspended where illegal road structures and obstructions are found.”/PN