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MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte, Sep. 29 (PIA) -- The Department of Public Works and Highways - Southern Leyte District Engineering Office (DPWH-SLDEO) has identified 9,610 structures in the province as highway obstructions within the road-right-of-way (RROW), DPWH reported.

DPWH Information Officer-designate Rouella May Altar said that as of mid-2015, the DPWH-SLDEO noted at least 9,610 encroachment along the national roads with 1,616 classified as makeshift and 7,994 concrete structures.

Altar quoted DPWH-SLDEO District Engineer Ma. Margarita Junia, saying that " the recently completed inventory was a "big step towards recovering the RROW in the province."

"We have a target to reduce the number of obstructions every quarter and each maintenance point person is assigned to a specific road section to meet their quota," Altar quoted further.

It was learned that the engineering department has already sent three notices to 130 property owners, and after sending the third notice, a dialogue with these property owners will be conducted, the report said. "If they will resist to remove the obstructions, legal actions will be undertaken," the DPWH official said.

It was learned that the encroachment problem is more serious in Maasin City, Sogod, Bontoc and some town centers where some local government-owned structures are within the road-right-of-way.

Sending notices are concentrated in areas with approved and proposed funding for widening and off carriageway improvement in the next two years, it was further learned.

"This is to make sure that implementation of the road widening will be done smoothly," DE Junia quoted.

Altar informed that the said move is in compliance to DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson's Department Order dated May 7, 2012, directing the strict enforcement of existing orders on the removal of obstructions and prohibiting the use within the road-right-of-way on the national highways.

The DPWH listed RROW obstruction such as buildings, houses, shanties, stores, shops, sheds, posts, canopies, billboards, signage, advertisement, including fences, walls, railings, basketball courts, garbage receptacles, plants and plant boxes.

While driveways and ramps occupying or protruding to the sidewalk, humps, construction materials like gravel, sand, cement, lumber, steel bars, among others are considered as encroachment, the report added. (ajc/PIA8-SoLeyte)