Ban on parking fee collection in Metro Manila pushed

By Monico D. Mekaniko

QUEZON CITY, METRO MANILA – Finding free parking areas is a challenge that many motorists face everyday and often, most would just pay a fee to have that space to park their vehicles.

If he got his way, Rep. Winston Castelo (2nd district Quezon City) would ban the collection of parking fees across Metro Manila.

Castelo filed House Bill 2558 that would institutionalize free parking in business establishments in Metro Manila, including shopping malls, hotels, banks, and medical institutions. He stressed that vehicles are not always protected from damage or theft even in parking spaces that charges fees. In having done so, he said business establishments should be held liable for incidents that could damage vehicles.

“The establishments specify in their parking fee receipt that they are not liable or responsible for any loss or damage that happens to the car parked at their premises,” Castelo said in a statement.

Under the bill, the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will be ordered to establish free parking in all establishments often visited in Metro Manila.

On the other hand, Castelo noted that he is calling for a public hearing with the MMDA, local government units, owners of business establishments, and even vehicle owners to discuss the bill.

“Providing a free parking area is a sound business practice which could likewise be replicated and be applied by owners of similar establishments,” Castelo said.

Debates over parking fee collection have been going on for years prompted by incidences of car theft and carjacking in parking lots that charge fees.

In October 2009, the Supreme Court upheld a decision by the Court of Appeals allowing mall owners to continue charging for parking fees. The SC emphasized that the prohibition from collecting fees has no basis in the National Building Code.

Engineer Jose Regin Regidor of the University of the Philippine Diliman made a study in 2006 stating that the government could actually use the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) Trip Generation Manual to come up with parking fees based on land use, type of establishment, and type of vehicle.

Till next time, this is Monico D. Mekaniko, Va-va-vroom!

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