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The City Council, during last Monday’s regular session, approved on first reading a proposed ordinance exempting senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs) from paying parking fees for the first three hours in all business establishments in the city.
The ordinance shall cover all resident and non-resident senior citizens and PWDs who are either driving or as passenger of the motor vehicle that will use the available parking slots of any establishment collecting parking fees.
The council stated that the senior citizens and PWDs shall be exempted from paying the required parking fees for the first three hours upon the presentation of senior citizens or PWD identification car or any valid government identification card showing that the party is 60 years old and above.
Under the proposed ordinance, after the third hour, the corresponding hourly rate shall be charged and collected from the senior citizen and PWD who is driving or serving as a passenger of the motor vehicle using the parking spaces.
The council added no charges will be collected from senior citizens and PWDs in case of a flat rate policy as long as they do not exceed four hours of parking.
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According to the city legislators, the ordinance shall apply to all business establishments that collect parking fees in the city.
Any business establishment found violating pertinent provisions of the ordinance shall be fined P1,000 for the first offense, P2,000 for the second offense, P3,000 for the third offense, a written warning for the non-renewal of business permit for the fourth offense and non-renewal of business permit and declaration by the city government against the responsible officers of the concerned business establishment as persona non grata.
Further, any booth attendant, cashier or responsible officer of the concerned business establishment found to be violating the provisions of the ordinance shall serve a jail term of 30 days.
The ordinance is anchored on Section 4, Article 15 of the 1987 Constitution, which provides that the family has the duty to care for its elderly members but the State may also do so through just programs of social security.
The council stipulated the city government recognizes the various contributions of the senior citizens to the local and national development while the city further recognizes the right of PWDs for support and assistance in consonance with the equal protection clause provided by the Constitution.
The ordinance defined senior citizens as elderly or retired persons which generally refers to someone at least 60 years of age and older while PWDs as those individuals with long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.
The ordinance was referred to a committee for further study and recommendation and the conduct of the public consultations prior to its being submitted for second and third readings.
By Dexter A. See
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