City clamps its own vehicle

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Sunday, May 11, 2014


A CEBU City Hall vehicle illegally parked near a beer house along Pelaez St. was immobilized by the City Traffic Operations Management (Citom) for violating a traffic rule.

It was parked at 4 a.m. in an area where parking is allowed only from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Its driver was allegedly drinking in a bar in the area; a bottle of beer was spotted inside the vehicle, propped up next to the gearshift.

Mayor Michael Rama ordered the General Services Office (GSO) to identify the vehicle’s custodian after he received the report. GSO keeps a list of all the vehicles the City owns, which number more than 1,000, and the names of those responsible for each unit.

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The words “Office of the Mayor” and the City’s seal marked the passenger-type multicab (SJM-459), whose driver violated City Ordinance 1664.

Warnings ignored

There is a pay-parking zone along Pelaez St., but overnight parking is prohibited in the area, Citom operations chief Jonathan Tumulak told
Sun.Star Cebu.

After Citom issued a warning, the driver still failed to show up to claim the vehicle.

As its standard procedure, Citom uses a public address system to warn owners of illegally parked vehicles, but if no one acknowledges the warning, a note is then placed on the vehicle, informing the driver of the traffic violation. This also serves as the last warning.

Tumulak narrated that after the vehicle got clamped, a drunk man approached the Citom personnel and informed them that he was a government employee and the driver of the multi-cab.

He walked away when the Citom crew asked for his name. Rama earlier instructed Citom to apprehend everyone who violates the law, including drivers of government vehicles.

No exceptions

“No one is above the law. There will be no exception given when they violate traffic rules,” Rama told Sun.Star Cebu.

Citom wanted to check the papers inside the vehicle yesterday to verify which department it had been issued to, but the doors were locked.

The mayor instructed the Human Resource Department of the City, along with the City Legal Office, to act on the incident.
City-issued vehicles, he added, must be used properly and should not be used for personal purposes, especially drinking sessions.

“We have been tracing our records to find out to whom the vehicle was issued,” Engineer Dionesio Gualiza, GSO chief, said. He explained it was the office head’s responsibility to make sure the vehicle was used only for official purposes.

The vehicle is now in Citom’s custody, after no one showed up to claim it.

Because of the violation, the driver may fined up to P1,500. He will also have to face administrative liabilities.

Last month, Citom started implementing again the clamping ordinance, in response to complaints about illegal and overnight parking.

Citom has emphasized that streets, particularly access roads, should be kept clear so that the City can immediately respond in case of emergencies. (RVC)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 11, 2014.

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