Lawmaker wants sidewalks, public roads cleared of obstructions

Mara Cepeda
Lawmaker wants sidewalks, public roads cleared of obstructions
Surigao del Norte 2nd District Representative Robert Ace Barbers says his bill will help ease urban traffic

MANILA, Philippines – Surigao del Norte 2nd District Representative Robert Ace Barbers filed a bill that would clear sidewalks and public roads of vendors and parked cars.

Under House Bill (HB) Number 2561, the following acts will be illegal on sidewalks unless permits from authorities are secured:

  • Putting up stalls and other similar structures for businesses
  • Leaving garbage 
  • Engaging in “ambulant vending”
  • Other acts that “tend to impede or obstruct the use of sidewalks which are meant to service pedestrians”

“It is no secret that urban areas have become so congested that people tend to disregard order and do things convenient to them. Small businesses have used and occupied our sidewalks, leaving pedestrians with no choice but to walk by the roadside, thus exposing them to greater risks of bodily injury and even death,” said Barbers in his explanatory note.  

HB Number 2561 will also make it unlawful for public roads to be used as parking spaces and terminals for public utility vehicles, unless authorities give permission.

According to Barbers, taxpayers have “all the right to complain” about the road obstructions in the country because these add to the perennial traffic problem. (READ: Gov’t wants to open subdivisions to ease traffic)

“Residents who do not have parking spaces in their houses use the streets for their parking lots. Business establishments which do not have ample parking spaces use the roads as parking lots for their own vehicles as well as their own clients, thereby clogging the already narrow roads and impeding the free flow of traffic. Adding to the already chaotic situation is the proliferation of public utility terminals,” he said.

Should the bill be passed into law, violators will be penalized with a fine ranging from P1,000 to P10,000 which shall go to either the municipal or city treasury. The local government will also be ordered to confiscate obstructions and to impound illegally parked vehicles.

“It is a fact that the traffic congestion 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,” said Barbers. – Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.