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Solons file bills to make cities, towns walkable

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Several lawmakers have filed bills that propose to make all towns and cities in the Philippines walkable.

Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers filed House Bill 504 or the proposed “Sidewalks and Public Roads Use Act” to regulate the use of sidewalks and public roads in urban areas.

The bill aims to free sidewalks and public roads from unauthorized commercial or personal use to facilitate the smooth passage of persons and clear all obstructions to traffic and vehicular flow.

Meanwhile, Quezon City 3rd District Rep. Allan Benedict Reyes proposed House Bill 3125 or An Act Creating a Magna Carta of Commuters. Senator Francis Pangilinan filed the counterpart measure in the Senate.

Reyes said the pro-commuter bill seeks better mobility for Filipinos and encourage the use of public transportation.

“While 80 percent of daily trips are made either through public transport, public transport is only given 20 percent of the road space,” he said.

Reyes also wants cities and towns to become more pedestrian-friendly. “What little pedestrian and cycling facilities are provided are usually either in poor conditions or lacking, especially for persons with disabilities,” he said.

“This Magna Carta calls for a shift from car-centric public policy and infrastructure to sustainable transport and mobility—one that provides safe access and mobility to all, promotes economic development, protects and preserve the environment and uplifts the life of the Filipino commuter,” he said.

Under the bill, “the State shall ensure that every town and municipality will have an integrated and interconnected network of safe sidewalks, bicycle lands and roads to enable travel around the city entirely by foot, bicycle or by other forms of light mobility.

“In Philippine cities and urbanized municipalities, the state shall ensure that the infrastructure of each barangay includes safe foot paths or sidewalks, free of obstructions, well-protected from automobiles, compliant with universal design guidelines and accessible by pregnant women, elderly, and persons with strollers and wheelchairs,” Reyes said.

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