Second District of Surigao del Norte Representative, Robert Ace Barbers wants to clear sidewalks and public roads of unauthorized commercial or personal obstructions to facilitate the smooth passage of people and vehicles.

He recently authored House Bill 504 or the proposed “Sidewalks and Public Roads Use Act.” This bill seeks to regulate the use of sidewalks and public roads in urban areas, which are meant for the utilization and enjoyment of the general public. This will be done by clearing all obstructions to pedestrian traffic and vehicular flow. 

The bill prohibits the following acts: 1) building any edifice, stall, and other similar structures; 2) putting up any business and other forms of obstruction; 3) leaving garbage and other junk materials; 4) engaging in ambulant vending; and 4) other acts that tend to impede or obstruct the use of sidewalks which are meant to service pedestrians. 

The proposed law, however, allows for special permits for the temporary use of sidewalks to conduct business such as, but not limited to, vulcanizing shops, repair shops, parking spaces, eateries, advertisement spaces, and other similar activities. 

It further provides that, without a permit from the proper authorities, it shall be unlawful to use public roads for parking, business, public utility terminals, and any other activity that tends to impede the flow of traffic. Only temporary activities may be issued permits for the use of public roads. 

In no case shall public roads be designated by the local government units (LGUs) or other government agencies as parking spaces and/or terminals for PUVs, whether for free or for a fee. 

Violators shall pay a fine ranging from PhP 1,000 to PhP 10,000, which shall be paid to the Municipal/City Treasury, and their vehicles shall be impounded by proper authorities. 

“It is of no secret that urban areas have become so congested that people tend to disregard order and do things convenient to them. Small businesses have used and occupied our sidewalks, leaving pedestrians with no choice but to walk by the roadsides, thus exposing them to greater risks of injury and even death,” Barbers said.