EDITORIAL | No iota of sincerity in wheel clamp ordinance implentation

On the surface, the objectives of Naga City’s Expanded Wheel Clamp and Towing Ordinance are laudable.

Intended to address the city’s monstrous traffic crisis, the ordinance, according to its text, “adopts policies for the orderly and systematically regulation of the use of streets, alleys, public places, and parking spaces in Naga City; significantly improves the traffic situation of the city; and facilitates the robust and sustainable economic development and fast transportation of goods, services, and people.”

Late last year, Mayor Nelson Legacion further explained in a media interview that the ordinance “seeks to deter motorists from illegally parking their vehicles, encourage landowners to venture into the business of providing parking spaces for a fee and, ultimately, improve the traffic situation in Naga.”

The success of the ordinance, however, rests on one very specific, and very non-negotiable condition: that its implementation is consistent and fair.

On this, the city government miserably fails.

Take the case, for instance, of Peñafrancia Avenue, which Section 4a(9) of said ordinance specifies as a Wheel Clamp Area.

On any given day, one can easily spot how, in said avenue, only some vehicles are clamped while others are not.

To make matters worse, there are even areas in said avenue where barriers have been put up, implying that it is perfectly legal to park there, despite the express prohibition in the city ordinance.

Meantime, there are numerous other areas within CBD I and other streets where this whimsical and unfair application may be observed.

The result: the purpose of the ordinance is defeated.

By extension, it also raises questions in the minds of Nagueños as to what the real goal of the ordinance is.

Is it, as many have conjectured, merely a fundraising effort, a ruse to collect money from owners of illegally-parked vehicles, and after reaching a certain quota, may be abandoned?

Is there any iota of sincerity on the part of the city to truly rid the streets of obstructions, or it is only lip service, perhaps to gain some coveted positive media mileage?

If the ordinance wishes to enforce discipline, if it were not “merely punitive” to quote the mayor, if it genuinely aims to distance itself from the conjecture that it is purely a money-making scheme, then it should never fail in its consistency.

Otherwise, it loses its power to deter motorists from illegally parking their vehicles, and makes the ordinance no more than just another useless legislation.