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GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines – Several car owners in General Santos City on Thursday, August 4, frowned on a proposed law being pushed by Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco that seeks to make the provision of parking spaces a requirement for car registration.
For them, the former House speaker’s House Bill No. 31 is not entirely a good idea because it only highlights the gap between the rich and the poor, and would hurt the working class more.
“It is a measure thought of by a legislator who is seemingly unaware that for many Filipinos, a vehicle is no longer a luxury but a necessity,” said corporate employee Homer Minguito.
He said not all who own or plan to buy cars have spaces in their homes that can be turned into garages, and neither can they buy lots for their vehicles.
Carmela Diaz, a human resource executive, said there are traffic rules already in place to address the concern of Velasco, and strict enforcement could get the job done.
Diaz said she was worried that if the proposed measure becomes a law, it would breed more corruption among government regulators and law enforcers.
“A simple no-parking sign will do as long as the rule is properly enforced,” she said.
General Santos restaurateur Niko del Corro said Velasco’s bill, unless clearly defined, would make it difficult for the working class to have cars that have become “tools of necessity.”
“For the working person, a milestone of achievement is having that first car, not for luxury but as a means to travel from Point A to Point B,” he said.
Del Corro said lawmakers should consider that many citizens belonging to the working class live in low-cost subdivisions or communities far from their working places.
The bill, he said, missed out on what needs to be done to solve the country’s transport and road problems, and government infrastructure deficiencies that have stunted economic growth.
A car dealer quipped, “Perhaps the lawmaker only wants the wealthy to own cars, not those in the middle-income bracket.”
Minguito pointed out that many families opt for second-hand cars because they find car ownership cost-effective, safer, and travel time-saving.
“Instead of this anti-poor bill, lawmakers need to enact laws that can offer viable alternatives to the inefficient public transportation system in the country. If they want lesser cars, if they want people to take public transportation instead, then they should fix our public transportation problem,” Minguito said.
Jae Brad Lee, a company executive assistant, said the government should first strictly enforce existing laws and regulations meant to decongest roads.
“Instead of passing the burden to vehicle owners, the government should set up public parking spaces,” Lee said.
He said homeowners’ associations and subdivisions too can help by providing common parking areas for residents living in small houses.
But Misamis Oriental 2nd District Representative Yevgeny Vincente Emano said Velasco’s bill applies only to those living in urban areas of the country where vehicular traffic congestion is prevalent.
Emano said that in these urban hubs, “all commercial spaces and businesses, and other similar structures must have parking spaces for their occupants, and residents with cars must present proof of parking space.”
He said one option is for car owners in these urban centers to show proof of a long-term contract for the use of parking spaces if they have no garages. – Rappler.com