BCPO, CEPMO, and councilors eyes towing edict amendment
The committee on public utilities, transportation and traffic legislation chaired by Councilor Benny Bomogao penned an ordinance amending the Towing Ordinance of Baguio or Ordinance 78, s. 2018.
The proposed amendment came about after the Baguio City Police Office and the City Engineering Office advised the city council to revisit certain provisions of the ordinance.
In their letter dated Oct. 10, 2019, City Police Director Allen Rae F. Co and City Engineer Edgar Victorio Olpindo asked the city council to update the ordinance in order to address the current problems, issues, and needs which their offices are currently encountering.
The draft of the amendatory ordinance consists of proposed revisions from the BCPO, City Environment and Parks Management Office, and from committee.
Co and Olpindo commented on the term “city towing task force,” clarifying that there is no actual task force established. In practice, it is the CEO, not a towing company, that removes vehicles and other obstructions along roads. They suggested using the term “authorized city government office” in all the sections of the ordinance, which will refer either to the CEO or any office authorized to tow.
The addition of the term “motorcycle” in the definition of terms was suggested indicating that any two-wheeled vehicle will be towed when it impedes the flow of traffic.
Co and Olpindo proposed the inclusion of towing fees for erring motorcycle owners worth P500 for the first four kilometers with an additional charge of P50 for every succeeding kilometer.
The committee also proposed that towing fees for medium vehicles will be raised from P2,500 to P3,000 and for heavy vehicles from P4,500 to P6,000. The present towing fee for light vehicles, which is P1,500, will remain. Additional amount will be charged every two kilometers after the first four kilometers on top of the base fee. The kilometric fees will be P200 for light vehicles, P300 for medium vehicles, and P500 for heavy vehicles.
Section 4 of the ordinance (authority to remove and impound) mentions “City Parking Management Office” as one of the authorized offices to remove an obstructing vehicle from the road. The two offices suggested the creation of a City Traffic and Transportation Management Office, which is more appropriate as it is broader and more general in scope encompassing traffic and transportation, parking, and other related matters.
Section 8a of the ordinance states that storage facilities for a towing company must be located within Baguio or nearby municipalities but in no case exceed 10 kilometers away from the city proper.
The committee proposed to add the phrase “beginning at Km. 0” at the end of the provision.
Another proposed amendment is the inclusion of a five-minute waiting time for the vehicle owner to remove his/her vehicle from where it is parked. The committee also seeks to amend Section 14 (storage fees). The amendatory ordinance states that vehicles must be claimed within 24 hours from the time it is turned over at the towing facility or city facility for storage. Unclaimed vehicles within the period will pay storage fees for every succeeding 24 hours: P100 for motorcycles, P500 for light vehicles, and P1,500 for heavy vehicles. A fraction of one hour will be considered as 24 hours.
Section 18 of the ordinance states that towing without the presence of a police officer or duly deputized enforcer shall be considered carnapping.
Added as a new provision under Section 24, owners of stalled vehicles left along the road which impede traffic flow and cannot be towed due to unavailability of proper towing equipment will be issued a traffic citation ticket for obstruction with penalty of P1,000 per day until removed. The receipt for the payment of fees or order of payments must show the breakdown of fees.
The committee further suggested a few rules in the disposition of towed vehicles.
The amendment indicates that all towed vehicles not claimed within 90 days will be auctioned either by the General Services Office or the private towing company as a scrap material. – Jordan G. Habbiling