No more sidewalk vendors? Lawmaker seeks ban on obstructing sidewalks

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 05 2022 01:27 PM

A street vendor sells goods on a sidewalk along Avenida in Manila on July 21, 2022. The health department reported 2,828 new COVID-19 cases today, the highest daily tally in more than five months since February 13. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
A street vendor sells goods on a sidewalk along Avenida in Manila on July 21, 2022. The health department reported 2,828 new COVID-19 cases today, the highest daily tally in more than five months since February 13. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - A lawmaker has filed a bill penalizing the use of sidewalks for commercial or personal purposes.

Under his House Bill 1252 or the Unobstructed Sidewalks Act, Pangasinan 5th District Rep. Ramon "Monching" Guico Jr. wants the following prohibited on streets, sidewalks, avenues, alleys, bridges, parks, and other public spaces:

- Vending or selling food, magazines, newspapers, cigarettes, brooms, watches or jewelries, shoes and other footwear, and/or any other items;
- Vehicle parking or repair;
- Dumping garbage;
- Installation of permanent or picket fence;
- Unauthorized plants, trees, and plant boxes;
- House extension or stall/store extension including installation of roofs or awnings;
- Installing animal pens or keeping animals in chains;
- Riding motorcycles, bicycles, and any other kind of vehicle;
- Storing of household appliances, furniture, junk and recyclables;
- Setting up a basketball court or playing basketball;
- Shoe shining operations;
- Household chores like washing clothes, hanging clothes, and bathing;
- Storing softdrinks or wine or liquor bottles and cases; drinking liquor and beverages and holding picnics or gatherings;
- Storing of household appliances, furniture, junk and recyclables;
- Use of sidewalk for storage of construction materials for sale
- Putting up signs or signboards on or above sidewalks and detached from the business establishment;
-Conducting religious activities like preaching and soliciting donations;
-Holding a funeral and gambling during such; and
-Other such activities that obstruct the free passage of people on sidewalks, unless otherwise authorized by law.

The measure notes, however, that community-wide special occasions, sales promotion days, and sales for civic or charitable purposes may be allowed on sidewalks provided they have a permit from local authorities. 

Violators will be penalized by a fine of not less than P10,000 but not more than P30,000, or by imprisonment of not less than six months, but not more than one year.

Local officials who also fail to enforce the law may also be made to pay a fine of not less than P100,000. but not more than P500,000.

In his explanatory note, Guico explained that small businesses crowding sidewalks puts pedestrians in danger. 

"Pedestrians have no choice but to walk roadside, exposed to all kinds of road hazards. The end result is the exacerbation of the already dismal traffic situation and heightened risks of what could have been avoidable road accidents." 

Speaking with TeleRadyo, Guico stressed the importance of a law banning the use of sidewalks for commercial or personal use.

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"Meron nang binigay nang Department of the Interior and Local Government noon memorandum circular na ito’y ipinagbabawal...that was the time of President Duterte."

"Ngayon nakikita naman natin na sumisikip na yung mga daanan naman natin dahil maraming nakaparadang mga sasakyan, marami yung mga vendors na ine-extend nila sa mga sidewalk," he noted. 

(The DILG has issued a memorandum circular banning the use of sidewalks for personal and commercial use...that was under the time of President Duterte. Now, our sidewalks are becoming unpassable again since there are parked cars, and some vendors have occupied the sidewalks.)