MANILA Valenzuela City First District Rep. Weslie Gatchalian has filed a bill seeking to regulate parking fees and protect Filipino consumers from excessive charges.
In his sponsorship speech, Gatchalian, chairman of the House committee on trade and industry, said his proposed House Bill 3262 or Parking Fees Regulation Act, aims to protect customers who avail of parking facilities offered by business operators from unreasonable parking rates and fees.
Gatchalian noted a 'meteoric rise' in the fees charged by business operators following the Supreme Court's decision upholding the rights of owners of malls to charge fees from persons who use their parking facilities.
"Nowadays, parking fees for a day's worth of parking in Metro Manila can be as high as PHP700 or more, while there are others that charge significantly less," he said.
"On top of paying excessive fees, consumers are oftentimes left with inadequate safety measures to protect their cars and their personal effects inside it. Operators generally impose a waiver of liability in case of loss or damage to property, leaving consumers vulnerable and unprotected," he said.
Gatchalian said the purpose of HB 3262 is to find an equitable balance that will allow parking enterprises a reasonable return on their capital while adequately protecting consumers' interest.
Under the proposed measure, establishments such as shopping malls, hospitals, schools and other similar establishments, including vacant lots and buildings that are solely devoted for use as parking should charge a standard parking fee of only PHP40 per vehicle for a maximum of 8 hours and an additional PHP10 per succeeding hour.
For overnight parking, a customer shall be charged a one-time fee of PHP100 per vehicle. The customer shall be given a grace period of 30 minutes, wherein he shall not be charged the standard parking fee if his motor vehicle shall have entered and exited the premises within the grace period.
Gatchalian said for shopping malls, restaurants, stores and similar establishments where customers go to purchase items or where the customers pay fees to enjoy the services, facilities or amenities offered by the establishment, the parking fee shall be waived once a customer presents a validated proof of purchase or payment of not less than PHP1,000.
This is on the condition that the customer used the parking space for a maximum of three hours only, he added.
The proposed measure also requires establishments to maintain and provide security in the parking spaces and that they shall be responsible for the safety of its patrons and shall be prohibited from invoking the waiver of liability in case of loss of property or damage to the customer's motor vehicle.
"The prohibition enunciated in the preceding paragraph shall likewise apply to operators of buildings or vacant lots that are solely devoted for use as parking spaces," Gatchalian said.
The bill provides that any person or establishment who violates the provisions of the measure shall be fined with not less than PHP150,000 per customer for collecting an overpriced parking fee, or imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than three years, or both, upon the discretion of the court. (PR)
Source: Philippines News Agency