September 28, 2023

The city council through Resolution 349, s. 2022 expressed support to the suspension of the installation of tactile tiles on sidewalks in light of the reported slippage incidents that caused harm and injuries to individuals.

The project is a joint venture of the Department of Public Works and Highways-Baguio City District Engineering Office and the City Engineering Office for the safety of visually-impaired persons in compliance with Batas Pambansa 344 or the law that requires certain buildings, institutions, establishments, and public utilities to install facilities and other devices to enhance the mobility of persons with disability.

The project suspension aims to give the technical personnel of the DPWH and the CEO ample time to study and consider the comments, opinions, and suggestions to improve the project and ensure the safety of the beneficiaries and the public.  

Reported slippage pointing to the tactile tiles on pavements or sidewalks have raised concerns that led to officials discussing what appropriate action, remedy, or adjustments must be done.

The city council held a dialogue with representatives from the DPWH-BCDEO, CEO, City Administrator’s Office, the visually-impaired persons, and those who slipped on the tactile tiles to come up with measures to address the concerns.

The representative of the visually-impaired persons in the city said their stand is not for the removal of the tactile tiles but instead improve it so it will benefit everyone.

City Administrator Bonifacio dela Peña called for everyone to suggest what must be done and how to make the tactile less slippery.

He said they are working together with the CEO putting up warning signs that wet tiles are slippery. He said if there is a need to remove the tiles, it will be removed; but if it will benefit some sector, everybody must help and give their suggestion on how to make it safer for everyone.

The councilors asked the CEO to: Provide a solution either by removing or replacing the tactile tiles to a non-skid tile and/or application of anti-slip material or coating with abrasive silica aggregation on the existing tiles; Make a criteria on where the tactile should be placed taking into consideration the width and slopes of the sidewalks; Install some exclusive tool intended to the welfare and interest of visually-impaired persons and other PWDs and persons with special needs; Coordinate with other agencies to ensure safety or to adopt safety measures including signages to prevent further accidents and more information dissemination on the proper use of the tactile tiles.

The council also suggested for the CEO to look for the specifications that will suit the situation of the sidewalks, present to the city council the plan and other details of any project before implementation, and scout for substitute or appropriate tiles from other sources,or those manufactured here in the Philippines.

Some councilors said there are no complaints about the tactile tiles installed in sidewalks, walkways, and parks because of the quality of the tiles in other countries. The end users appreciate the materials for serving their intended purpose.

In Singapore, only flat areas were observed to have been applied with tactile and not on slopy sidewalks. There are also steel tiles but being used in indoor walkways. For outdoor use, tiles have anti-slippery grooving and depressions, which passed the slip resistance rating of the country’s Land Transportation Authority before installation.

The city council in resolution 357, s. 2022 has urged the city’s local finance committee to restore the grant of P5,000 cash incentive for every year of service to a retiring official and employee of the city government, or an elective city official at the end of their term in recognition of their unselfish contribution and dedicated service as mandated under Ordinance 20 s. 2017.

The cash incentive was discontinued on account of the letter dated Feb. 5, 2021 to Mayor Benjamin Magalong of Irene Gahid, Regional Director IV, Department of Budget and Management-Cordillera.

Gahid cited section 28 (b) of Commonwealth Act 186 or the Government Service Insurance Act, as amended by Republic Act 4968, which explicitly prohibits all government offices from establishing supplementary retirement plans for its officers and employees.

Gahid said the benefits of separated or retiring officials and employees are limited to terminal leave benefits and the benefits administered by the Government Service Insurance System.

The resolution said the practice of granting said cash incentive, which started in year 2007 up to 2020, can be considered a “traditional right” of the concerned officials and employees and therefore can no longer be withdrawn as this would amount to a diminution of benefits with emphasis/reference to the decision of the Supreme Court of a settled rule that “any benefit and supplement being enjoyed by the employees cannot be reduced, diminished, discontinued or eliminated by the employer, a principle founded on the constitutional mandate to protect the rights of workers, promote their welfare, and to afford the full protection of labor.