Win Gatchalian’s ‘No Win’ Law

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With the rampant, unmitigated corruption at the Bureau of Customs exasperating President Rodrigo Duterte, corruption elsewhere in the government is the last thing the President needs right now.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian’s legislative proposal being deliberated upon in Congress will induce more corruption, this time at the Land Transportation Office (LTO), the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

Gatchalian’s proposed legislation is entitled “Proof of Parking Space Act.” It is supposed to get rid of illegally parked vehicles in Metropolitan Manila in order to decongest the crowded roadways in the metropolis.

More specifically, Gatchalian’s bill will require vehicle owners who register their vehicles with the LTO to produce, in addition to the existing burden already imposed on motor vehicle owners, proof that the vehicle owner has a garage in which to park the vehicle.

Gatchalian’s bill calls for the imposition of penalties on anyone who submits bogus documents regarding the required garage and on those who insist on using public roads as their garage.
Gatchalian’s bill, if enacted into law, will not solve the illegal parking problem in Metropolitan Manila and will only encourage large scale corruption.

The undeniable fact is that many households that own vehicles do not have a garage and end up using the roadside for that purpose. It is almost certain that the desperate among them will resort to bogus documents in an attempt to prove that they have a garage for their vehicles.

Can the LTO realistically monitor which documents are genuine and which ones are not? Of course not! It can hardly deliver license plates and drivers’ licenses on time.

Gatchalian is apparently aware of the LTO’s limitations because his proposal authorizes personnel from the LTO, the PNP and the MMDA to conduct “random inspections” of vehicles parked along major streets. Corrupt inspectors, and there will be many as confirmed by news reports about corruption among PNP cops and MMDA traffic enforcers, can be easily bribed to conduct their “random inspections” elsewhere.

Besides, why should random inspections even be done? All illegally parked vehicles should be towed away immediately at the expense of the vehicle owners. Even without Gatchalian’s proposed legislation, law enforcement agencies are already authorized by existing statutes to tow away illegally parked vehicles.

Parked vehicles that intrude into sidewalk space are illegally parked. They should be towed away as well.

Just take a look at the streets near the major broadcast networks in Quezon City. Vehicles parked in the area have converted all available sidewalk space into a large perimeter parking lot. This is easily confirmed by taking a look at the area through the Internet satellite monitor system.

As of this writing, however, the PNP and the MMDA have not done anything about this problem.

The MMDA under ex-military mutineer Danny Lim is notoriously incompetent and indolent. Its strategic planners do not understand traffic flow and are inclined to prohibit this and to prohibit that as their solution to the traffic mess.

MMDA traffic enforcers usually hide at strategic locations and wait for a motorist to commit an infraction of traffic regulations. That is usually an occasion for extortion.

Many of them prefer to slow down traffic flow so they can easily look out for vehicles violating the number-coding restriction. To corrupt traffic enforcers, that is another occasion for corruption.

One will not see any MMDA traffic enforcer whenever it rains. There is none along the roads once the sun is out. Just imagine how selective they will get if they are to conduct the “random inspections” contemplated by the Gatchalian asinine bill.

There is no doubt that requiring a vehicle owner to submit “proof of parking space” each time he registers his vehicle and the random inspections contemplated in Gatchalian’s bill, will only create more opportunities for corruption in government.

In other words, the solution to the road parking mess in Metropolitan Manila, or anywhere else in the country, is not Gatchalian’s useless draft legislation. The solution is to enforce existing laws against illegally parked vehicles, and to require the PNP and the MMDA to clear the sidewalks immediately.

What are your thoughts?

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