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Proof-of-Parking Space Act gets moving in the Senate

PASIG CITY, Philippines – The scale of the problem the no garage, no car policy seeks to address can be seen in this aerial image of a typical urban neighborhood, 11 March 2018. With public roads becoming parking spaces, Senator Win Gatchalian’s practical solution will instill a culture of responsible vehicle ownership among Filipinos. Photo by Mark Cayabyab/OS WIN GATCHALIAN

The Senate has started the process of ironing out the details of a bill which would require prospective vehicle owners to present proof that they have a parking space for the new vehicle, a bill which Senator Win Gatchalian believes will help ease traffic congestion in the country.

The Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce, and Entrepreneurship has formed a technical working group to further study Senate Bill No. 201, also known as the Proof-of-Parking Space Act, after the bill received full support from different civil society and government representatives during the committee’s recent public hearing.

Gatchalian, the author of the measure, said he considers the bill to be quite relevant at this time, since this will instill a culture of responsible vehicle ownership among Filipinos.

“The concept really here is responsibility when you buy vehicles. We are now putting the responsibility on the car owners. If you buy cars, you have to make sure that you have a parking space for your own vehicle,” Gatchalian said during the public hearing of SBN 201.

“I think this is quite relevant at this time because, if you try to pass the side streets to avoid traffic in major thoroughfares, there is a greater chance that you’ll get stuck in traffic due to the cars parked along the narrow streets,” he added.

According to LTO records, the numbers of registered motor vehicles from the year 2015 until 2017 were 10,410,814. There are an estimated new 1,000 registrants each day, 600 of which are newly-purchased vehicles.

Under the Proof-of-Parking Space Act, individuals and businesses based within Metro Manila would only be allowed to purchase vehicles after the execution of an affidavit confirming that they have acquired, either through purchase or lease, a parking space for the vehicle sought to be purchased.

The bill also mandates the Land Transportation Office, the Metro Manila Development Authority, and local government units to conduct frequent ocular inspections of major and minor thoroughfares across the National Capital Region to remove illegally parked vehicles and to punish vehicle owners who refuse to comply with the law.

While he recognizes the critical role of SBN 201 in the Duterte administration’s push to solve the transportation crisis, Gatchalian said it would be up to local government units to lead the charge in implementing the proposed law.

“It is better to have a national policy so that the local governments may impose that national law. The local government are also quite sensitive to the comments of their own constituency. In this proposal, we are giving them ample time to locate their own parking spaces,” the senator said.

“The present administration is in a good position to achieve real, tangible change by overhauling Metro Manila’s outdated public transportation system. Alleviating the constant struggles of the commuting public should be one of government’s top priorities,” he added.