House panel recommends stiffer penalties for stealing, vandalizing road signs

Published October 17, 2020, 6:27 PM

by Ben Rosario

Citing the high incidence of deaths and injuries caused by lack of proper road signs and stolen manhole covers, the House Committee on Revision of Laws has endorsed the passage of a bill imposing stiffer penalties for stealing said road safety devices.

The House panel chaired by Zambales Rep. Cheryl Deloso-Montallas has submitted for plenary action House Bill 7886 that consolidated two bills filed separately by Reps. Alfredo Vargas (PDP-Laban, Quezon City) and Deputy Speaker Raneo Abu.

Vargas called for the swift passage of the bill that proposes the imposition of stiffer penalties for the stealing or vandalizing of government road signs and other risk reduction devices, accessories and other facilities.

Vargas proposed a fine of P200,000 to P500,000 and/or a 12-to15 year prison term for persons found guilty of stealing or in possession of road signs and warning devices, including manhole covers and other accessories.

For damaging or vandalizing said  devices, a guilty person faces six to ten years imprisonment and a maximum P150,000 in fine.

Vargas also proposed similar penalties for the fence and for government employees and their accomplices.

In filing the bill, Vargas noted that one of the leading causes of deaths in the country is road accident.

He explained that one of the critical factors that leads to road accidents is the lack of proper road signs which are either stolen or vandalized.

“According to the Department of Public Works and Highways, a total 42,558 road signs have already been stolen and vandalized in 2013,” he said.

Vargas said stiff penalties for stealing road safety devices and signs may reduce the number of such incidences and eventually lead to lower cases of road accidents.