Virac’s insane right-side parking policy
posted 10-Sep-2019  ·  
1,499 views  ·   0 comments  ·  

    Last Friday, August 24, 2019, “NO PARKING” tarpaulins began sprouting at the usual parking spaces along the national road of Virac from barangay Francia to Calatagan.

    Aside from the all-caps main message, the tarps mounted on a wooden frame stated simply: “Presidential Directive during the 4th State of the Nation Address of the President” and “DILG Memorandum Circular 2019-21.”

    The municipal government reportedly began implementing the right-side no parking policy after a meeting with agency representatives, including the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Catanduanes police. Accompanying the traffic and maintenance aides of the LGU were DPWH personnel and equipment as well as the local police.

    Traffic aides fanned out along the length of the affected highway and began knocking on the windows of parked cars, asking their drivers to relocate to other parking spaces.

    Hard-hit by the new policy are motorists who are just trying to buy something from stores and businesses along the affected stretch of highway and business establishments whose customers are now going to other stores where parking is allowed.

    The policy was sweeping, affecting even establishments which have already assigned parking spaces in front of their places, including the Land Bank of the Philippines and the Immaculate Conception Cathedral.

    What stumps said affected motorists and establishments is that President Rodrigo Duterte never said anything in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) about removing cars and motorcycles from their usual parking spaces.

    What PRRD wanted was for all municipal and city mayors to “clear all obstructions in all public roads to provide free flowing traffic to motorists.”

    Taking the president’s order a step further, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) issued a memorandum circular enjoined all local officials to exercise their powers essential to reclaim public roads which are being used for private ends and in the process rid them of illegal structures and constructions.

    Surely, those who attended the meeting at the municipal government did not fail to notice that the main purpose of the Duterte directive is to remove all obstructions in all public roads, regardless of whether they are national, municipal or barangay roads.

    And there are a lot of obstructions along poblacion roads, from rolling stores, plant boxes, sand and gravel piles, brazen encroachments of residences, even a barangay hall and a barangay market.

    And said roads as designed includes the road shoulders, with their use guaranteed to motorists who are paying for it through the Motor Vehicles User’s Charge (MVUC).

    There is likewise doubt as to whether the right-side parking policy is backed by a municipal ordinance, which would give the traffic aides and the LGU the right to impose fines on erring motorists.

    Concerned citizens are likewise wondering whether those who decided the matter even considered the fact that the shoulders on both sides of the road’s main carriageway are not of the same size.

     For example, the shoulder at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral is more than twice the shoulder at the town plaza’s side and yet, it has been so declared as a no-parking zone. To maximize the use of available shoulder and parking space, the LGU should have considered an alternate parking zone and allowed establishments which have allocated their own parking spaces to use them for their clients.

     In view of the possibility that motorists would defy, or worse ignore, the right-side parking policy, those who attended the meeting at the LGU should re-convene and rethink the issue.

     After all, the move is widely seen as a strategy to convince Malacanang that Virac’s leaders are complying with the presidential order, even if it does not remove existing road obstructions.

     It is never too late to backtrack and determine where the LGU should start on a new, correct path to the proper implementation of the Duterte directive.

    Of course, if it wants the motorists, business establishments and the public to describe its decision-making as sorely lacking common sense and, worse, insane, the Virac LGU will have to stand by its ill-advised decision.

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