July 19, 2024

The city council has unanimously approved Ordinance 79, s. 2023 which amended Ordinance 49, s. 2019 or the “Anti-Distracted Walking Ordinance of Baguio.”
Distracted walking means the act of doing a secondary task that lowers or restricts awareness of the surroundings because all or some attention is directed to one/more tasks other than walking such that the sense of sight is blocked or affected when distracted.
Implementation of Ordinance 49, s. 2019 was suspended after negative reaction from the residents.
After public consultation on Feb. 17, the city council passed Ordinance 79 incorporating amendments to truly reflect the policy of the city government to provide an undistracted flow of pedestrians on streets and sidewalks, and to comply with the city government’s responsibility to enact measures to promote the health and safety of everyone residing and traversing within the city.
The amended ordinance prohibits using a mobile device by texting or reading texts while crossing a pedestrian crossing or the street, or while traversing a sidewalk, which causes delay in the mobility of other pedestrians,” and “Reading any reading material while crossing a pedestrian crossing, walking on sidewalks or the street.”
A person who is in a stationary position and goes to the side of the sidewalk and does not obstruct the flow of people shall not be considered a violator of the ordinance.
Penalties and fines for violators are reprimand for the first offense and 10 days community service for the second offense.
The Public Order and Safety Division, the Traffic Management Unit, barangay tanods, and enforcers are tasked as the implementing authorities.
Footages from CCTVs installed by the city, police, and barangay shall be used as proof of violation and to contest offenses charged through the presentation of the video footages.
The City Buildings and Architecture Office is tasked to prepare signages to be posted at strategic locations such as parks, bus stations, so that tourists and residents alike will be informed about the ordinance, while the Public Information Office and the city council shall cause the widest dissemination of the measure through all forms of media outfits.
The ordinance was submitted to the Office of City Mayor Benjamin Magalong for his signature.
The city council through Resolution 545, s. 2023 has urged jeepney operators and drivers in Baguio to provide more express trips to cater to students and workers from 6 to 8 a.m.
The resolution mentioned the usual scene of many passengers queueing at jeepney terminals causing commuters to arrive late in their workplaces, schools, and appointments due to lack of jeepneys especially during morning rush hours.
In Resolution 546, s. 2023 has encouraged taxi operators, drivers, and the City Tourism Office to upgrade the quality of taxi units and taxi services to enhance tourism in the city.
The resolution stated that Baguio being a small city and a favorite regular and daily tourist destination for local and foreign travelers is beset with traffic and parking problems, that is why measures to mitigate the situation have been established which include the request for tourists to use public transportation like taxi cabs.
However, most taxi units are dilapidated with peeling paints, have seats with holes, dirty floors, and non-functioning windows which make a very uncomfortable ride aggravated by some unkempt and discourteous drivers, and who are not even familiar with the various routes and places in the city, not conversant with various tourist sites, culture and tradition.
The resolution also stressed the need to constantly remind, guide, and help taxi operators and drivers compliance with traffic laws regulations to ensure the safety of their passengers.
A copy of the resolution was forwarded to the City Tourism Office for its information and appropriate action.
The city council in Resolution 539, s. 2023 urged the implementing offices/agencies of the city government to assign a quality monitoring team to each infrastructure project in the city to ensure that projects are implemented according to project plans and specifications.
Resource person from the Planning, Programming and Construction Division-City Engineering Office revealed that to date, actual accomplishment rate of the projects being undertaken, particularly along the central business district, is 67.92 percent compared to the expected accomplishment of 74.07 percent having a negative slippage of 6.15 percent.
The resolution stated that the slow pace of infrastructure completion causes inconveniences and poses danger to the public so there is a need for a monitoring team to inspect and recommend solutions at every stage, verify any outcome, and assess the quality of the project.