After newly-elected Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso cleaned up the infamous Divisoria from its street vendors and trash, a lot of people were amazed at what the new Mayor can do. Many people admired the fact that Mayor Isko took this time to do such a thing for the betterment of Manila.
Following what the newly-elected Mayor did, a Congress bill has been filed having the same motive—to rid off public roads and sidewalks of these clogs for the use of pedestrians.
House Bill 504
House Bill 504 or more commonly known as the Sidewalks and Public Roads Use Act looks to overall control public roads and sidewalks. Generally, it is to free them of unwanted spaces so that people who are in dire need of the sidewalks can freely use them.
Surigao del Norte’s second (2nd) district Representative Robert Ace Barbers, author of the bill, says that public roads and sidewalks, or infrastructures of these types are actually made for the utility of the public—and not for putting up different terminals, stalls, and businesses.
In addition to that, Barbers also criticized car owners who utilize these streets as their personal parking spaces. He said that the roads are not built and meant for purposes like how most people currently use it.
Adding to the already chaotic situation is the proliferation of terminals of public utility vehicles. Our roads are not built for such purposes and the taxpayers have all the right to complain. It is a fact that traffic in urban areas results in economic losses amounting to billions of pesos yearly. Should these road obstructions be cleared, traffic flow will ease and a more robust economy will result.”
Press release from the Congress
Based on the statement from the press release of the Congress, House Bill 504 or the act that would fulfill clean and more utilization-friendly public roads and sidewalks, is State’s policy to clear sidewalks, public roads, and other form of transport for pedestrians.
House Bill 504 declares it is the policy of the State to clear sidewalks and public roads from unauthorized commercial or personal use to facilitate the smooth passage of persons and clear all obstructions to traffic and vehicular flow.”
To add to that, the bill also explains that sidewalks and other forms of pedestrian way should be safe and clear from any form of obstruction.
Sidewalks and public roads must be maintained to allow safe pedestrian passage and ease in traffic flow that will result in a more progressive economy.”
Basically, House Bill 504 has a clear goal of setting or cleaning public roads and sidewalks for better use of pedestrians and to ensure the smooth and safe flow of their travel.
What does the bill prohibit?
In order for the public to know the specifics of House Bill 504, here are the things that the bill prohibits on usage of public roads and sidewalks:
- Leaving garbage and other types of junk materials;
- Building or setting up any edifice, stall, and other similar structure;
- Engaging in ambulant vending;
- Putting up any type of business and other forms of obstruction; and
- Other acts that would either obstruct or impede the use of sidewalks which are meant to serve pedestrians.
What if a business would need a sidewalk to operate?
This Act does not necessarily negate the need of such businesses. In fact, there are exemptions. As per the memo, establishments and businesses who wish to utilize public roads and/or sidewalks to conduct and operate their businesses just need to get a permit from authorities.
Businesses such as parking spaces, eateries, repair shops, vulcanizing shops, and other advertisement spaces. Without these permits that authorities would be asking for, the business will be considered and looked at as an unlawful business.
Having that said, Local Government Units (LGUs) would be forbidden from turning public roads and sidewalks into transport terminals, parking spaces, and for other uses.
Would there be a fine if a business or an establishment is caught?
Business and establishments who would be needing extra spaces for operations without seeking consent would be fined from P1,000.00 to P10,000.00.
If a vehicle is involved, the fine would most likely include impounding of vehicles. So, establishments would really need to be careful in utilizing extra spaces for their business or for operations.
Do you want to read on and check the full press release? If you do, you can click here. Reading the full press release would allow you to know everything about the bill that has been submitted.
Should this be followed by the current standard?
Since it’s still just a bill, it’s not going to be in effect yet. However, if this bill gets signed into law, all public roads and sidewalks should be free from any form of obstruction or type that would disallow them to walk properly.
Benefits of House Bill 504
One of the main benefits of this bill—when it gets signed into law—is that it would allow pedestrians to safely travel even on highways. More so, this will clean up roads and sidewalks which will be better looking and more efficient.
Another benefit this could bring is that it could influence different LGUs in further maintaining and cleansing streets off of street vendors, illegal business operations, and the like.
The real purpose of this bill—if you still haven’t figured yet—is to give aid to Filipino pedestrians in keeping them safe via public roads and sidewalks and to prevent trash and garbage from accumulating in different areas.
What do you think about House Bill 504? Do you think that when this bill gets signed into law, people would be able to appreciate it? Do you think that this can help clean up the messy streets that we once grew up in?
If you haven’t experienced the hassle of walking through a sidewalk full of vendors and cars parked, then you wouldn’t be able to appreciate this bill. On the other hand, people would most likely root for this bill to be signed into law because of the convenience and the safety it will provide to pedestrians.