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SP Highlights: Towing and Expanded Wheel Clamp Ordinance

Traffic congestion in the city is already an alarming concern. But, many of the issues in this area lie with the lack of discipline of drivers in driving and, more so, in parking their vehicles. Streets which are supposedly free for travelling automobiles are blocked by illegally parked cars, creating disruptions in the traffic flow which effects, especially during rush hours, are multiplied tremendously. Hence, to address this problem, the 12th Sangguniang Panlungsod has enacted Ordinance No. 2018-018, dubbed as “The Towing and Expanded Wheel Clamp Ordinance of Naga City.” Through the sponsorship of Councilors Joselito Del Rosario, Salvador Del Castillo, Elmer Baldemoro and Tomas Ramon Sanchez Jr., with co-sponsorship of their youth counterparts – City Youth Councilors Allysia Mariefranz Rodriguez, Jan Kristofer Borja, Jovelyn Competente and Therese Pototan – this ordinance seeks to deter motorists from illegally parking their vehicles, encourage landowners to venture into business of providing parking spaces for a fee and, ultimately, improve the traffic situation in Naga. Wheel-clamp and Tow-Away Zones have been listed in the ordinance. But before the effectivity of the ordinance, appropriate and adequate signage confirming with international standards will be put up first by the Public Safety Office and the Philippine National Police on the enumerated sites to ensure fairness ---- that motorists are forewarned first of the consequences of their acts. Also, the list will be disseminated by the City Events, Protocol and Publication Information to guarantee that widest awareness on the matter is achieved. Under the ordinance, interested towing firms will have to apply for accreditation to the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Naga, the body authorized by the Local Government Code of 1991 to grant franchises, before they can operate. These firms shall be responsible in towing illegally parked vehicles whose owners, in turn, will be liable to pay fines and towing fees, without prejudice to other civil and criminal liabilities that can be charged against the violator. Until redeemed by the owners, towed vehicles shall be under the responsibility of towing companies For illegally parked vehicles, a fine of P1,000 shall be imposed in addition to the towing fees that are dependent on the gross capacity and kind of the vehicle. For trucks with gross capacity of 4,000 kilos and above shall be charged a towing fee of P1,500 for the first four kilometres from the site of violation to the towing area, and P400 for every succeeding kilometre. For cars, jeeps and pick-ups with gross capacity of less than 4,000 kilos, the towing fee is P1,000 for the first four kilometres from the site of violation to the towing area, and P400 for every succeeding kilometre. Violators must pay within three days from the time their vehicles were towed; otherwise, their fees will accumulate at the rate of P100 per day from the moment said period lapse. If the automobile is not redeemed within two months from the date towed, the same shall be sold in a public auction on the first Monday of the succeeding month. Proceeds of the sale will first be applied to the accumulated charges (e.g. fines, towing fees, storage charges) and the excess, if any, shall be given to the vehicle’s operator or owner. For wheel-clamped vehicles, a fine of P1,000 shall be imposed against their owners. A maximum of three hours is given to any violator to redeem his wheel-clamped automobile; otherwise, the same will be impounded and the rules on towed vehicles and penalties relative thereto will apply. Of course, tampering of wheel clamp is against the law. Mere try to remove or destroy is punishable of a fine of P1,000 or one month imprisonment, or both, at the discretion of the court. Cost of the wheel clamp will also be shouldered by the offender should the attempt to destroy it be successful. Given this ordinance, there may be some qualms by citizens of the lack of parking areas in the city. Hence, we are encouraging landowners to explore the possibility of offering their lots for parking for a reasonable and equitable fee. Those who will desire to undertake this business need only to comply with the usual requirements for securing a mayor’s permit and opening an enterprise in the city. The Towing and Expanded Wheel Clamp Ordinance of Naga City is a regulation that may be seen, at first glance, to be punitive. But, the truth of the matter is that it only imposes the customary discipline that every driver must possess. There will be no vehicle that will be wheel-clamped or towed if all of us will just follow traffic rules and regulations, which, in the first place, are being taught to any driver before securing a driver’s license. Tarabang po kita na mapa-uswag pa lalo an satuyang Maogmang Lugar!

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