City council mulls ban on cell phone use while driving-A A +A
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
THE City Council of Iloilo is mulling an ordinance banning the use of cellular phone while driving in the city and providing penalties to violators.
Proponent Sheen Marie Mabilog, ex-officio City Council member representing the SK Federation, said the proposal, now on its first reading, is expected to institute protection of life, limb, and property in eliminating distractions caused by cellular phones while driving public or private vehicles.
A public hearing on the cell phone ban was held on Wednesday facilitated by the City Council Committee on Communications chaired by Councilor Nielex Tupas.
Mabilog said it was observed that most of the taxicab drivers and privately-owned car drivers in the city are prone to using their cellular phones while driving and such behavior poses risk in the safety of other motorists and pedestrians as well.
In the ordinance, it shall be unlawful for any person to use cellular phone whether hand-held or through hands-free device while driving a motor vehicle within the city’s jurisdiction. Any form of use of the cellular phone such as dialing or receiving a call, calling, texting or surfing the web and the like while driving is strictly prohibited.
Penalties against violators include P500 or imprisonment of not more than 30 days for the first offense; P1, 000 or imprisonment of not less than 60 days for the second offense; and P5, 000 or imprisonment of 6 months and 1 day but not more than 1 year or both fine and imprisonment upon the court’s discretion for the third and succeeding offense.
Mabilog said exemptions may include law enforcement drivers and ambulance or emergency drivers and even the media provided they are on duty and acting on their official capacities and when no other means of communication is available.
The local transport sector in Iloilo City is supporting the proposal. Perfecto Yap, president of the Association of Taxi Operators of Panay (ATOP), lauded the measure.
Yap said that ATOP has 32 operators mostly based in the city with some 1,200 taxi units and the proposed measure will help a lot in maintaining the safety of passengers and drivers.
Nicasio Dalisay, president of the Iloilo City Alliance of Drivers Associations, said the measure, if passed by the City Council, would help streamline the transport sector, especially public utility jeepneys. (Lydia C. Pendon/Sunnex)