Use of mobile devices while crossing city’s streets okayed

The City Council approved on third and final reading a proposed ordinance prohibiting and regulating the use of mobile devices and other destructive devices and items while walking and crossing the streets and sidewalks in the city.

The ordinance authored by members of the local legislative body that was culled from a proposal of Scout Councilor Eriko R. Coscoluela stated the local government recognizes it has the responsibility to enact ordinances to promote the public health and safety of everyone riding and traversing the city.

Under the approved local legislative measure, the prohibited acts include texting or reading text messages while crossing a pedestrian lane or street; reading any material while crossing a pedestrian lane or a street; texting or reading while traversing a sidewalk which causes delays in the mobility of other pedestrians and using a mobile device while crossing a pedestrian lane or the street wherein the line of sight is directed or focused to such devices.

The ordinance stipulated violators of the measure shall be penalized with a reprimand by the person-in-charge or officer on duty for the first offense; a fine of P1,000 or community service for the second offense; a fine of P2,000 or community service or penalty of 1-10 days in jail depending on the decision of the court for the third offense and a fine of P2,500 and community service or imprisonment of 11-30 days depending on the decision of the court for the fourth and succeeding offenses.

The ordinance tasked the City Public Order and Safety Division (POSD), the Baguio City Police Office–Traffic Management Unit, barangay police and enforcers to be the authorized agencies in charge of implementing the measure.

The ordinance added authorities should exercise due diligence, patience and maximum tolerance when reprimanding and advising potential violators of their blatant violations.

The ordinance allowed the use of closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras installed by the BCPO and barangays in the proper monitoring and proof of violation of the newly approved measure.

Further, offenses that will be charged to the violators may be contested through the presentation of footages and that the absence of proof can be construed as grounds for the outright dismissal of the case.

The ordinance stipulated fees collected from violators of the said measure shall form part of the city’s special education fund.

The ordinance noted the State exercises its inherent powers, one of which is the police power wherein certain rights are curtailed to govern, and to make, adopt, and enforce laws for the protection and preservation of public health, justice, morals, order, safety and security, and public welfare. - Dexter A. See