Bill says 'parking space first' before car purchase, registration

We do not need to ask if a commuter, driver or pedestrian has seen a line of vehicles parked along the streets, taking over sidewalks and even outer lanes, most often at residential areas.

Such a sight is not out of the ordinary anymore. They are part of the landscape in a barangay, residential village, near high-rise condos, even commercial areas where shop owners live in their stores.

The parked vehicles have claimed road space. And with every other motorist now navigating through minor streets with blind obedience to mobile apps, the parked vehicles have become an obstruction to the smooth flow of traffic.

For the third time since 2016, another bill seeking a solution to the problem of vehicles parked on public roads was filed last month. Representative Lord Allan Velasco filed House Bill No. 31, entitled “No Garage, No Registration Act.”

The bill proposes to require a car buyer to present a proof of parking space –a garage or leased space – as a “pre-requisite for the purchase of a motor vehicle and registration with the Land Transportation Office.”

The proof of parking requirement will be for any person “with residence or business address in metropolitan areas such as, but not limited to Metro Manila, Angeles, Bacolod, Baguio, Batangas, Cagayan de Oro, Dagupan, Davao, Iloilo, Naga and Olongapo, who intends to purchase a motor vehicle.”

Two bills with the same intent were also filed in 2016 and 2019.  Senator Joel Villanueva filed S.B. No. 1165 in September 2016, the “No Garage, No Car Act of 2016.”  Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian filed S.B. No. 368 in July 2019 the “Proof of Parking Space Act.”

Social media has been abuzz with reactions to the recently-filed bill.  Many said it was about time such a bill should become a law, while many voiced the reason why people stretch their budgets to buy a vehicle – an inefficient public transportation system.

Thus, parking space is hardly an issue when most people decide to buy a vehicle. But this bill, if it becomes a law, will make people take a harder look at where they will park their new car. The bill recommends stiff penalties to both the car owner and the LTO employee if the proof of parking space presented turns out to be a fake document. According to the bill, “the motor vehicle owner shall be suspended from registering a motor vehicle under his name for three years” with a fine of ₱50,000.

Meanwhile, the LTO employee who allowed the registration of the motor vehicle without the necessary document and “with knowledge of the falsity of the statements” shall be suspended from office for three months without pay.

Concerned citizens will also be involved in keeping the streets clear.  The bill enjoins them to report the presence of vehicles parked on the streets to the LGU, LTO, or the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

This bill – if it becomes a law – can be a big part in the solution of the traffic problem in metropolitan cities.  It can finally clear the streets of parked vehicles.

But we hope that by then the streets will also be free of car repair shops, vulcanizing shops, fruit vendors, and tricycle drivers who use the sidewalks as their business address.