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MMDA should make ‘Mabuhay Lanes’ permanently free of illegally-parked vehicles

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Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) Congressman Win Gatchalian is urging the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to make the Mabuhay Lanes permanently free of illegally parked vehicles and not just during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit and the coming Christmas season.
Gatchalian said the MMDA under the leadership of Chairman Emerson Carlos has been effective in removing obstructions and illegally-parked vehicles along the so-called Mabuhay Lanes, which is a network of alternate routes for motorists who want to avoid Edsa during the APEC conference and the holiday season.

“Car owners should not make public streets their own parking space. If they are capable of buying a vehicle, then they should also have the same capacity to obtain a personal garage,” said Gatchalian, principal author of House Bill 5098 or the Proof of Parking Space Act, which aims to introduce discipline to those prospective car buyers to have a garage first.

The MMDA had reported that more than 100 motorists have been fined P200 each for illegal parking, obstruction and disregarding traffic signs along the Mabuhay Lanes, while more than 30 vehicles, whose owners were not immediately found, were towed to an impounding area at Ultra, Pasig City.

Aside from vehicles, MMDA teams also removed structures like basketball posts, food stalls, billboards and even pet cages. The MMDA is leading the operations with the PNP-Highway Patrol Group (HPG), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Land Transportation Office (LTO), and local government units (LGUs).

Gatchalian, however, noted that Mabuhay Lanes will only be free of parked vehicles and other obstructions from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and that the MMDA will be strictly enforcing the policy only until Jan. 2, 2016.

“This could mean a return to anarchy in the streets once the Christmas season is over. I strongly suggest that the MMDA permanently make these Mabuhay Lanes free from illegally-parked vehicles 24 hours day, 7 days a week,” said Gatchalian, who represents Valenzuela City’s 1st congressional district.

Gatchalian said his Proof of Parking Space Act would free the major thoroughfares and secondary roads from idle vehicles, whose owners have been using the side of the streets as their permanent parking space.

National agencies concerned with the horrendous traffic in Metro Manila have endorsed Gatchalian’s bill requiring would-be buyers of new vehicles to have a parking space first, in a bid to unclog streets of illegally parked vehicles.

HPG director Chief Supt. Arnold Gunnacao had said Gatchalian’s proposed law corresponds to his earlier recommendation lawmakers to come up with “no garage, no car policy,” which will prohibit individuals purchasing motor vehicles without their respective garage.

Under HB 5098, those who want to purchase new vehicles must first prove they have a parking facility suitable for the car they are buying under the supervision of the LTO.

“A policy that will require car owners to have their own personal garage will also act as a deterrent against the rising number carnapping incidence,” said Gatchalian, who is a member of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development.

Records from the Philippine National Police-Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management (PNP-DIDM) show that 214 vehicles were stolen on the streets while 140 were forcibly taken from their owners in residential areas (villages and subdivisions) from January 5 to September 6 this year. These represent 44% and 29%, respectively, of the total 489 reported car theft cases in the last nine months.

Gatchalian also noted that HB 5098 would also make it easier for firetrucks, ambulances and other rescue vehicles to pass through narrow streets and alleys in case of an emergency or natural disaster. (Monica Cantilero)