Various government offices and law enforcement agencies, including the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), formed a task force to ensure peaceful and credible conduct of the May 13, 2019 national and local elections.
Pursuant to Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Resolution No. 10471, 35 government agencies and government-owned or controlled corporations were mobilized to provide different services such as transportation services, security, education and information campaign, and others for the exclusive purpose of guaranteeing orderly and honest campaign period leading to national elections.
For its part, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), together with the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Philippine National Police (PNP), and COMELEC have started removing unlawful campaign materials that obstruct national roads through its Baklas Billboard Program.
According to DPWH Secretary Mark A. Villar, the Baklas Billboard Program aims to dismantle illegally installed and obstructive tarpaulins and similar election paraphernalia along national highways to ensure road safety and prevent imminent danger to lives and properties.
“We have already started removing obstructive materials in the provinces across the country while the task force in Metro Manila will start the program on February 28”, said Secretary Villar.
In Northern Mindanao, personnel of DPWH Regional Office 10 and COMELEC had earlier started removing more than 1,000 campaign materials tagged as Road Right-of-Way (RROW) encroachments in national highways in accordance with Presidential Decree No. 1096 or the National Building Code of the Philippines and Section 23 of Presidential Decree (PD) No. 17 or the Revised Philippine Highways Act stating that it is illegal to usurp or obstruct any portion of the RROW by installing private or permanent structures, such as stalls, sheds, billboards, signages, and advertisements.
DPWH Regional Office 3 has also started taking down campaign materials in Nueva Ecija contrary to reports that some DPWH maintenance personnel were allegedly seen installing campaign paraphernalia.
“The government is maximizing its workforce to ensure that we will have a clean and transparent national and local elections”, added Secretary Villar.