BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance penalizing any person impersonating or falsely representing oneself by using or facilitating the use of reserved spaces intended for persons with disabilities (PWDs) and senior citizens in all public and private establishments in the city.
The ordinance authored by Councilor Leandro B. Yangot, Jr. stated that it shall be unlawful for any person to impersonate or falsely represent oneself as a person with disability or senior citizen by using or facilitating the use of reserved spaces intended for persons with disabilities and senior citizens in all public and private establishments in the city.
Under the proposed ordinance, any person found to have violated the pertinent provisions of the local legislative measure shall be penalized by a fine of P2,000 for the first offense, a fine of P3,000 for the second offense and a fine of P5,000 for the third offense.
Yangot tasked the Public Order and Safety Division (POSD) of the City Mayor’s Office to establish a hotline or dedicated telephone number to receive complaints and reports of violation of the ordinance.
Further, the POSD, the Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA) and other concerned agencies shall promulgate the necessary implementing rules and regulations for the proper implementation of the ordinance.
Batas Pambansa (BP) Bilang 344 or the Accessibility Law requires building owners, institutions, establishments and public utilities to install facilities and other devices for the benefit of persons with disabilities and senior citizens and was enacted to reserve sufficient and suitable spaces for the use of PWDs.
On the other hand, Republic Act (RA) 9994 otherwise known as the Expanded Senior citizens Act provides additional privileges for the elderly by giving them priority and suitable lanes or spaces in lodging and business establishments and access to public transport.
Yangot reported there are times that the designated spaces are knowingly used by able-bodied persons by fraudulently misrepresenting themselves as handicapped or senior citizens, thus, government must ensure all laws provide for the realization of rights of every citizen are strictly implemented.
Section 16 of Republic Act No. 7610 otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991 provides that every local government unit (LGU) shall exercise the powers expressly granted, those necessarily implied therefrom, as well as powers necessary, appropriate, or incidental for its efficient and effective governance, and those which are essential to the promotion of the general welfare.
Within their respective territorial jurisdictions, LGUs shall ensure and support among other things, promote health and safety, maintain peace and order, and preserve the comfort and convenience of their inhabitants.
The ordinance was referred by the local legislative council to the appropriate committee for further study and recommendation for second reading and for publication.
By Dexter A. See