The City Council, during last Monday’s regular session, approved on first reading a proposed ordinance requiring the use of life vest when riding watercrafts at Burnham Park lake.
Under the proposed ordinance authored by Councilor Isabelo Cosalan, Jr., it will be a declared policy of the local government to adopt measures to promote that inhabitants are kept safe and secure by minimizing, if not eliminating potential risks and hazards of water activities through the use of appropriate devices or equipment.
The ordinance is intended for the concessionaires, operators and passengers of watercrafts at the Burnham Park lake.
Before taking a ride, all passengers shall wear a life vest. Any passenger who refuses to wear a life vest shall not be allowed to board the watercraft. The passengers shall refrain from removing the life vest throughout the ride. The operator shall ensure that the life vests are worn by all passengers, including himself before embarking.
The owner or manager shall be responsible in providing life vest for all passengers of the watercraft and shall ensure that there is sufficient number of the vest for each rider to include the operator and see to it that the life vest fits well and are in good condition.
The ordinance stipulated that the life vests shall be inspected and shall be registered during the renewal of permits to operate watercrafts by the owners and managers.
The ordinance tasked the City Mayor’s Office through the Public Order and Safety Division, the City Environment and Parks Management Office (CEPMO) to enforce the pertinent provisions of the measure and shall apprehend violators.
Owners and managers of water crafts who violate the provisions of the ordinance shall be warned for the first offense aside from the imposition of a fine of P1,000; the watercrafts shall be impounded or docked apart from a fine of P1,500 for the second offense and a fine of P2,500 will be imposed and the license of the operator shall be revoked if the concessionaire committee the same offense for the third time.
The ordinance claimed that the City Mayor may allow the conversion of penalties imposed under the ordinance to community service where it is deemed appropriate and applicable.
The ordinance aims to provide safe and healthful conditions for the employment of aquatic recreation consistent with public rights and interests and that the personal floatation devices, when used properly, save lives.
Republic Act (RA) 7160 or the Local government code of 1991 provides the power2 of the local legislative body to enact measures to protect its inhabitants and provide their safety.
Moreover, the emergency procedures are necessary to counter accidents and other unplanned events that threaten the lives of crewmembers, passengers and valuable properties.
The ordinance underscored that wearing a properly fitted life jacket is the simplest life-saving strategy for recreational boating, padding or towed water sports are the most important safety on any recreational vest.