Baguio City Council Amends Towing Ordinance

The Baguio City Council last Monday approved on third and final reading an ordinance amending certain provisions of Ordinance Numbered 78, Series of 2018 which provided for a regulated towing system of motor vehicles within the public right-of-way in the city streets/roads.
The comments and recommendations of the Baguio City police Office and City Engineering Office prompted the council to revisit the provisions of the existing towing ordinance and introduce amendments in order to address the issues and problems encountered by these implementing offices.
Former BCPO City Director Allen Rae Co and City Engineer Victorino Olpindo, in their letter dated October 10, 2019, clarified that that there is no actual task force established; rather, in actual practice, it is the City Engineering Office (CEO) that removes obstructing vehicles along roads in the absence of a towing company. As an amendment, the term “City Towing Task Force ” was replaced with “Authorized City Government Office ” in all the sections of the ordinance which will aptly refer either to the CEO or any office authorized to undertake the towing.
Also, “Motorcycle” in the Definition of Terms was added, implying that any two-wheeled vehicle will be towed when parked along public roads impeding the flow of traffic or causing traffic hazards.
Under the amended ordinance, the towing fee for erring motorcycle owners is P500. 00 for the first four kilometers from the place where it was towed to the impounding facility with an additional charge of P50. 00 for every succeeding two kilometers thereafter.
The towing fee for medium vehicles (gross vehicle weight less than 4,500 kg) was maintained at P1,500.00.
However, the towing fee for medium vehicles (gross vehicle weight between 4,501 kg and 7,500 kg) was raised from P2,500.00 to P3,000.00 and for heavy vehicles (gross vehicle weight 7,501 kg and above) from P4,500.00 to P6,000.00.
Furthermore, an additional amount will be charged every two kilometers after the first four kilometers on top of the base fee. The kilometric fees will be P200.00 for light vehicles, P300.00 for medium vehicles, and P500.00 for heavy vehicles.
Section 8a of the ordinance states that the storage facilities for a towing company must be “located within the City of Baguio or nearby municipalities but in no case exceed ten (10) kilometers away from the City proper.” This section was amended to add the phrase “beginning at Kilometer Zero (Km. 0)” at the end of the aforementioned provision.
Another amendment is the inclusion of a five-minute waiting time for the vehicle owner to remove his/her vehicle from where it is illegally parked. An illegally parked car will be towed if the owner fails to appear after five minutes of waiting by the towing personnel.
Section 14 (Storage Fees) was also amended. The amendment states that vehicles must be claimed within 24 hours from the time it is turned over at the towing facility or city facility for storage.
Unclaimed vehicles within the period will pay the following storage fees for every succeeding 24 hours: P100.00 for motorcycles, P500.00 for light vehicles, P1,000.00 for medium vehicles, and P1, 500 for heavy vehicles. A fraction of one hour will be considered as 24 hours.
The second paragraph of Section 18 states that “towing without the presence of a police officer or DULY DEPUTIZED ENFORCER shall be considered carnapping.” The phrase DULY DEPUTIZED ENFORCER was replaced with TRAFFIC ENFORCER, OR THOSE DEPUTIZED BY THE LOCAL CHIEF EXECUTIVE.
Owners of stalled vehicles left along the road which impede traffic flow and cannot be towed due to unavailability of proper towing equipment will be issued a Traffic Citation Ticket for obstruction with the penalty of P1, 000.00 per day until removed. Also added under Section 24, the receipt for the payment of fees or order of payments “must show or reflect the breakdown of said fees.” This is a newly added provision under Section 24.
A few rules in the disposition of towed vehicles were also added as a new provision (Section 27). All towed vehicles which are not claimed within 90 days will be auctioned either by the General Services Office or the private towing company as scrap material. The General Services Office will follow whichever existing disposal rules deemed most convenient.
The approved amendatory ordinance has been transmitted to the City Mayor’s Office for the chief executive’s approval. -Jordan G. Habbiling