By Charissa Luci-Atienza
MAGDALO partylist Rep. Gary Alejano has proposed to penalize the use of sidewalks for commercial and personal purposes.
He said adequate sidewalk areas must be maintained to allow safe pedestrian passage and for the safety and convenience of wheelchairs, strollers, and similar instruments.
“The country’s sidewalks have become so crowded with stores and stalls selling food or rendering various kinds of services, so much that pedestrians have no choice but to walk roadside, exposed to all kinds of road hazards. The end result is the exacerbation of the already dismal traffic situation and the overcrowding of roads, ” Alejano said.
He filed House Bill 8017 seeking to clear sidewalks from unauthorized commercial or personal use in order to facilitate the smooth passage of persons as well as to clear all obstructions to traffic and vehicular flow.
“As such, this bill aims to penalize the use of public roads and sidewalks for commercial and personal purposes,” the former Marine captain said.
HB 8017 or the proposed “Unobstructed Sidewalks Act” prohibits the use of streets, sidewalks, avenues, alleys, bridges, parks, and other public spaces for commercial and personal purposes.
Prohibited acts, under the bill, include vending or selling food, magazines, newspapers, cigarettes, brooms, watches or jewelries, shoes, and other items; conduct of shoe-shine occupation; washing clothes, hanging clothes and bathing; vehicle parking or repair; use of sidewalk for storage of construction materials for sale; house or stall/store extension; and installation of permanent or picket fence.
Violators of the proposed Act shall pay a fine ranging from P10,000 to P30,000 or face a penalty of six months to one year-imprisonment.
Officials of the local government units (LGUs) who fail to implement the proposed Act will be held administratively liable, Alejano warned.
Erring mayor, barangay chairperson or any designated local officer shall also be penalized by a fine ranging from P100,000 to P500,000, HB 8017 provides.