For the past several days, members of the Metro Manila Council, the MMDA, as well as local LGUs have been busy clearing out the streets of the metro. With the DILG giving the Mayors only until September to clear all public roads, it's all hands on deck.

But in order to avoid having obstructed streets in the future, Senator Win Gatchalian thought of a permanent solution. Recently, the 45-year old lawmaker filed Senate Bill No. 368, or the Proof-of-Parking Space Act. According to Gatchalian, his proposed measure will require future car owners to actually show proof that they have somewhere to park their vehicle.

“Passing this bill will be a big boost to the administration's campaign of reclaiming public roads and help ease the perennial traffic woes we are experiencing in Metro Manila. I hope President Duterte will certify this bill as urgent as it is very much aligned with his vision of alleviating the constant struggles of the commuting public,” said Gatchalian.

Under the new Senate Bill, individuals and businesses within Metro Manila will only be allowed to purchase a vehicle after signing an affidavit that proves that they have a parking space to put their automobile. In addition, the bill also mandates the Land Transportation Office (LTO), the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), and LGUs to conduct frequent ocular inspection of roadways and side streets across the NCR. That way, authorities can remove illegally parked vehicles, as well as punish those that have been caught violating the law.

Should the bill be passed, Gatchalian said that this will instill a culture of responsible vehicle ownership among Filipinos.

Gatchalian wants

“Motor vehicle owners should be made responsible to provide permanent parking space for their private vehicles, whether this is made an integral part of their house or building structure, or a leased facility. The street is primarily intended for vehicular or foot traffic and should not be appropriated as personal parking spaces for these vehicles,” added Gatchalian.

This is not the first time that such a bill has been filed. Back in September 2016, Senator Joel Villanueva filed Senate Bill No. 1165, or the No Garage, No Car bill. Like Gatchalian's Senate Bill No. 368, any individual or business that plan to have a vehicle must present a notarized affidavit that will proof they have somewhere to park their vehicle. A copy of the notarized affidavit will then be presented and given to the LTO as a pre-requisite for registration. It was then followed by Senate Bill No. 201, or the Proof of Parking Act which was originally filed by Senator Gatchalian back in August 2016. However, both bills were never passed.

In Davao City, the city government is pushing for a similar 'proof of parking' rule. City Councilor Conrado Baluran said that he hopes that should this new rule be apporved, it will solve traffic congestion as well as get rid of illegal parking. For now, the councilor plans to hold talks between private and public sectors, including the LTO, LTFRB, City Transport & Traffic Management Office (CTTMO) and local car dealers, in order to discuss the matter further.

With President Duterte's recent call to reclaim all public roads from obstructions, Gatchalian's proposed bill could not have come at a better time. And with car ownership still on the rise, perhaps this will solve Metro Manila's decongested roads.