MANILA, Philippines—National highways are meant to be used by motorists, not by farmers and traders of agricultural products as dryers for their palay or corn crops, the Department of Public Works and Highways said Wednesday.
Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson issued this reminder on Wednesday “to avoid road accidents.”
In a statement, Singson noted that the DPWH had widened a number of major arterial roads nationwide to “facilitate the smooth flow of traffic and not to be used as solar dryers for palay and corn.”
The widened highways include MacArthur Highway, also called the Manila North Road; the Cagayan Valley Road, which traverses the provinces of Nueva Vizcaya, Isabela, and Cagayan; and the Manila South Road, or Daang Maharlika, to Bicol.
Singson observed that “farmers taking advantage of the good weather are cordoning off sections of national highways while drying their palay and corn stocks.”
“To add trouble, the same farmers and rice and corn traders put large stones, if not boulders, and other barriers on the highways to protect their palay and corn from being overrun by passing vehicles,” he said, noting that such practices “pose danger to motorists.”
“Many tricycles and motorcycles are using the center lanes of these widened national roads,” Singson added. “The practice hampers the smooth flow of vehicular traffic, as well as poses danger to motorists, particularly at night. If they want to use the national roads, then they should use the outer lanes to prevent accidents from happening.”
Singson urged local government units to “help put order on the national roads, especially in market areas or town centers, which are being used as terminals or parking areas of these tricycles and motorcycles.”
“Both LGUs and the Philippine National Police should strictly enforce the No Parking regulations covering national roads,” he said.
The DPWH has intensified its campaign to remove road obstructions and return pedestrians’ right-of-way.
The program is one of the agency’s priorities this year, said Singson, citing a government study that showed more than half of road accident victims were pedestrians and not motorists.