First there was no texting while driving, care of the Anti-distracted Driving Act, legalized in 2016. Soon, in Baguio City, you won’t be able to text while walking. There really must be something different about the air up there.

The City Council of Baguio approved on the third and final reading an ordinance prohibiting and regulating the use of mobile devices and other distractive devices while crossing the streets and walking on sidewalks.

SOFAD Eriko R. Coscolluela, proponent of the ordinance, said that using mobile devices and other distractive devices while crossing the street makes pedestrians lose awareness on their surroundings, making them more likely to be involved in an accident. In addition, the use of distractive devices may slow down their walking pace which may obstruct other pedestrians on the sidewalk and may affect their mobility.

The said ordinance was adopted by Councilors, Faustino A. Olowan, Peter C. Fianza, and Levy Lloyd B. Orcales.

Baguio City has cited that the number of people injured as a result of texting, talking on the phone, or listening to music has been increasing at an alarming rate, becoming a major pedestrian safety concern.

Besides electronic devices, the ordinance also prohibits reading of any reading material while crossing a pedestrian lane and walking on sidewalks (Section 14).

Anyone who violates this ordinance will be reprimanded by the person-in-charge on first offense, fined P1,000.00 on second offense, P2,000.00 on third offense, and P2,500.00 with community service or 11-30 days imprisonment on fourth offense and succeeding offenses.

Authorities in-charge of monitoring and apprehension are Public Order and Safety and Division (POSD) of the Mayor’s Office, Baguio City Police Office (BCPO), Baguio Traffic Management (TMU), Barangay Tanods and Enforcers.

The final draft of the ordinance will be submitted to the Mayor’s Office for approval before it takes effect.

While the proposed ordinace may seem a bit out of this world, it is worth noting that a bill was recently filed by New York Senator John Liu in May this year, that seeks a statewide ban on mobile phone use while walking. Citing risks and dangers posed by distracted walking; if passed, their versions seeks to fine between $25 to $250.