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MTPB chief Dennis Viaje, says roads cannot be used as basketball courts based on an order from the DILG. (TSJ)

MTPB UPHOLDS DILG ORDER PROHIBITING ROAD CLOSURE FOR BASKETBALL

RESIDENTS of a barangay in the third district of Manila hailed the move of the Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau (MTPB) to remove a basketball court that was put in the middle of a street, thus obstructing pedestrians and motorists alike.

MTPB chief Dennis Viaje said the removal of the said basketball court located in Lope de Vega under Barangay 329 in Sta. Cruz, Manila, was pursuant to the existing Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) order regulating the use of streets, avenues, alleys, sidewalks, parks and other public places within the jurisdiction of a local government unit.

Viaje also stated that the MTPB took action in the wake of mounting complaints from motorists and pedestrians who are deprived of the road use due to the existence of the said basketball court.

Concerned parents, he said, have also sought the MTPB for the immediate closure of the said court, saying it promotes illegal gambling among the residents, whose teams even have to pay certain individuals just to be able to join the basketball league.

“Madami pong reklamo dahil lagi pong sinasara ang kalsada kahit regular days kaya ‘yung mga motorista po ay nagagalit. Isa pa po, naging sugalan ang lugar na yan ang lalaki po ng pustahan. Nung alisin po namin ang court ang dami pong natuwa dahil nawala daw yung perwisyo sa kalye,” Viaje said.

The complaining parents, Viaje said, claimed that some unscrupulous individuals organizing of the said basketball leagues have been raking so much money at the expense of the players themselves.

“Mali po talaga na isara ang kalsada dahil lang sa laro at tagubilin din po ‘yun ng DILG,” Viaje said, adding that the removal of the said illegal basketball court was duly coordinated with the barangay and was done in the presence of a barangay kagawad.

When the MTPB team arrived on Friday, the said barangay, he said, requested that the removal of the court be done the following and the team gave in to the said request.

“Nakiusap pa sila na kinabukasan na lang kunin dahil tatapusin po nila yung game noong araw na ‘yun kaya yung pagpunta namin balik na lang po namin yan. Bawat team po na sumali meron pong bayad,” he said.

The DILG said that a road or street may only be closed through an enactment of an ordinance provided that there is a compelling or justifiable reason and that such ordinance must be approved by at least two-thirds of all members of the city council after undergoing public hearing.

In the case of temporary closure during fiestas for instance, it must be specified in a written order issued by the mayor and there must be an ordinance enacted by the city council.

“No public place shall be temporarily closed for athletic, cultural or civic activities not officially sponsored, recognized or approved by the LGU,” the DILG order further stated. (Baby Cuevas)

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