No Parking, No Car (Proof-of-Parking Space Act, Senate Bill No. 201)

The economy loses billions of pesos a day because of traffic. Cars parked on the sides of the roads are among the causes of traffic, as well as a host of other problems. To solve this problem, and we say this proposal is long overdue, there is a proposed law which seeks to impose a “no parking space, no motor vehicle” policy.

Senate Bill No. 201, introduced by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, proposes a law, to be known as the “Proof-of-Parking Space Act,” which is an Act Regulating the Sale of Motor Vehicles in Metro Manila by Requiring a Proof-of-Parking Space or Facility from Motor Vehicle Buyers as Pre-Requisite for the Purchase of a Motor Vehicle and Registration with the Land Transportation Office.

The author of the proposed law explains that “the problem with traffic is not only confined in the big city streets such as EDSA, and congestion isn’t isolated in the vicinity of Manila ports – the motor vehicles that continue to occupy the side streets, parked and idle, push carts, litters of all kind have been eyesores and a hindrance to foot and automobile traffic in most of our streets.”

“Motor vehicle owners should be made responsible to provide a 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. Any financially-able purchaser of a motor vehicle can be presumed to be able to provide a parking facility for his vehicle.”

Each and every motor vehicle shall require a separate space for parking.

At this point, it is important to note that a “motor vehicle” does not only cover cars (a label used only for convenience in the title and in this article). The proposed law does not define a “motor vehicle”, but under the Land Transportation and Traffic Code (Republic Act No. 4136), it means any vehicle propelled by any power other than muscular power using the pubic highways, but excepting road rollers, trolley cars, street-sweepers, sprinklers, lawn mowers, bulldozers, graders, forklifts, amphibian trucks, and cranes if not used on public highways, vehicles which run only on rails or tracks, and tractors, trailers and traction engines of all kinds used exclusively for agricultural purposes.”

The biggest loophole in this proposed law is the scope of its application. It ONLY covers persons “with residence or business address in Metro Manila who intends to purchase a motor vehicle.” A creative person might ask someone with residence in the province to purchase the motor vehicle and “borrow” it for use in Metro Manila.

While the proposed law requires the DoTC, DILG and LGUs, LTO and MMDA to issue the corresponding implementing rules and regulations (IRR), the IRR cannot legally expand the scope of the law, which means that these agencies are bound by the Metro Manila coverage of the proposed law.

Under the proposed law, it is the responsibility of the prospective buyer to execute a public document, such as an affidavit, attesting that a permanent parking space or facility already exists for the motor vehicle subject of the sale. No sale is valid in the absence of the public document, and any misrepresentation in the public document will subject the buyer to criminal liability for falsification under the Revised Penal Code, subject to the penalty of imprisonment.

The problem, as always, is with implementation. The proposed law does not require a prior examination or verification of the purported parking space. Prior verification must be the standard.

With the current language of the proposed law, the only requirement is the execution of the public document, subject to the post-purchase verification (only upon complaint or selective verification by the LTO, MMDA or local government units) of the existence or non-existence of the permanent parking space for a registered motor vehicle. The “pre-requisite” envisioned under the law is the execution of the public document, not the prior verification of the veracity of the contents of that affidavit.

If the post-purchase verification confirms the absence of a parking space, basically the act of making untrue claims in the pre-purchase affidavit, the vehicle registration will be revoked and the vehicle owner suspended from registering a motor vehicle under his name for a period of 3 years, plus a fine, without prejudice to other liabilities under the Revised Penal Code.

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