'Penalize owner, not driver, for smoke-belching vehicles'
MANILA, Philippines – Instead of penalizing both drivers and operators of smoke-belching vehicles, a lawmaker wants to hold just the owners responsible for polluting the air.
In his proposed House Bill 6298, Quezon City 5th District Representative Alfred Vargas is seeking an amendment to Section 46 of Republic Act 8749 or the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999.
The current version of the law penalizes both the driver and operator of smoke-belching vehicles.
Vargas, however, said it can be assumed that drivers of smoke-belching public utility vehicles are just employees of the vehicle owners, and "do not necessarily have the proper means and control over major repairs of the vehicles."
"With the driver held liable, owners are not compelled to make the necessary vehicle repairs or part replacements in order to comply with the emission standards. Thus, the problem of smoke belching is not effectively addressed," Vargas said.
Under the proposed measure, the owner of the apprehended vehicle will be required to attend a seminar on pollution control and management to be conducted by the transportation department.
The vehicle owner will also be slapped with fines ranging from P6,000 to P10,000 as well as a one-year suspension of the motor vehicle registration (MVR).
The current version of the law penalizes drivers and operators with fines ranging from P2,000 to P6,000, and an additional one-year suspension of the MVR for the third offense.
Vargas said his proposal aims to help ease the worsening air quality in Metro Manila. Around 80% of air pollution in the megacity comes from motor vehicles, according to the Environmental Management Bureau.
Long-term exposure to particulate air pollution has been found to increase the risk of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. – Rappler.com