House committee approves proposed parking regulations
A MEASURE establishing parking fee regulations and standards for parking facilities was approved Monday by the House of Representatives’ committee on trade and industry. “I am glad that this bill is one step closer to becoming a law despite some misgivings of the owners of retail and commercial establishments and independent parking operators,” Valenzuela Rep. Weslie T. Gatchalian, who chairs the committee, said in a statement on Wednesday. Under the unnumbered substitute bill, confined patients and out-patients in health service establishments may use parking facilities for free while non-patients can be charged P20 per hour. Customers of accommodation facilities, including hotels, motels, hostels, and resorts, shall not be charged parking fees provided there is proof of transaction with the establishment. Non-customers can be charged P20 per hour. Meanwhile, parking fees in educational institutions shall be waived for the first two hours for officials, employees, faculty, and students, after which P20 can be charged per hour. Non-customers can also be charged P20 per hour.
In retail establishments — including malls, shops, supermarkets, and stand-alone stores — customers get free parking for the first two hours, provided there is proof of transaction for an amount not less than P500. Non-customers can be charged P10 per hour but not more than P50 per day. Commercial establishments may charge P40 for the first four hours and P20 per succeeding hour for a maximum of P140 per day. Open parking enterprises may charge P30 for the first three hours and P20 per succeeding hour, while multilevel parking enterprises may charge P40 for the first three hours and P20 per succeeding hour. Street parking, which is usually managed by the local government, can have a rate of P50 per hour while the maximum overnight parking fee shall be P150 per vehicle. Lost parking tickets may also be charged a maximum of P150 per vehicle. The bill also sets the minimum standards that must be observed by all parking establishments including the provision of CCTV cameras, security guards, the number of entrance and exit booths to prevent traffic congestion, and other safety standards. The bill is up for second reading. — Genshen L. Espedido
DoJ preliminary probes to continue amid coronavirus threat
THE DEPARTMENT of Justice (DoJ) is not cancelling just yet its scheduled preliminary probes amid the coronavirus disease threat, an official said. “No cancellation of preliminary investigations at the NPS (National Prosecution Service),” Undersecretary Markk L. Perete told reporters in a mobile-phone message. “Until such time that further restrictions imposed by health authorities require cancellation of hearings, preliminary investigation of complaints will continue,” he added. He said the department, headquartered in Manila, will comply with the protocols that the inter-agency task force on the disease will issue. President Rodrigo R. Duterte declared on March 8 a state of public health emergency. As of March 11, the Department of Health said the country has 49 confirmed cases of the disease, formally named COVID-19, mostly within Metro Manila. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas