Congressman Sherwin Gatchalian, representative of the first district of Valenzuela City, filed on October 14 two bills that focus on parking issues. One of them should be easily welcomed and praised by car owners everywhere, while the other should attract opposition from car buyers.
House Bill No. 5099 ("Parking Fees Regulation Act")
Gatchalian filed the bill "to encourage malls, hospitals, schools and similar establishments to provide free parking spaces for their customers."
According to his website:
Gatchalian proposed a standard parking fee of only P40 per vehicle for up to eight hours and additional P10 for every succeeding hour. A one-time fee of P100 per vehicle will be imposed for overnight parking.
In particular, those who have purchased at least P1,000 worth of goods or services will have their parking fee waived, provided that they have used the parking space for three hours or less.
As for safety, business establishments will be required to provide security in parking spaces. If they opt to collect parking fees, shops will be liable for loss of property or damage to customers' vehicles.
Any person or establishment violating the Act will be made to pay a fine of at least P150,000 per overcharged customer or a prison term of one to three years.
"Consumers, especially those in Metro Manila and urban areas, have no choice but to pay the excessive parking fees imposed by malls and other establishments even if these businesses already profit from the sale of their products and services," Gatchalian said. "The key is to strike an equitable middle ground that will afford consumers the necessary protections without excessively hampering the ability of legitimate parking enterprises from conducting fair and profitable business."
House Bill No. 5098 ("Proof of Parking Space Act")
Now, Gatchalian filed another parking-related bill that may not prove to be popular among car buyers, although we agree with it 100%. The bill seeks to require a car buyer to first present proof of parking space before he or she is allowed to purchase a vehicle.
According to his website:
Gatchalian proposed that buyers of brand-new cars, whether individuals or firms, be mandated to execute an affidavit indicating the availability of an existing parking space for the vehicle to be bought. The said affidavit shall be certified by a notary public.
Gatchalian pointed out that motor vehicle owners should be made responsible to provide a permanent parking space for their own private vehicles, whether this is made an integral part of their house or building structure, or is a leased facility.
The Act also orders the Land Transportation Office to make such affidavit a prerequisite in the registration of vehicles. The LTO, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and other concerned local government units are mandated to make ocular inspections in implementing the Act.
Owners found making untrue claims shall have their vehicle registration revoked and will be banned from registering a motor vehicle under their name for three years. Violators will also be fined P50,000.
LTO personnel who allow the registration of vehicles despite knowing the falsity of the affidavit, or without the required document, shall be suspended for three months without pay.
"Although it is good news for the automotive industry, it is bad news for Metro Manila motorists and commuters who must brace themselves for slower traffic as more cars join the vehicle population," Gatchalian explained. "And traffic congestion in the capital is worsened by the idle vehicles parked on the sides of streets, hampering the flow of automobile and foot traffic."
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Photo by Vernon B. Sarne