Council hears proposed ‘anti-distracted walking’ measure

BAGUIO CITY — The city council here is hearing a proposed ordinance, authored by the Councilor Scout Official For a Day (SOFAD), that prohibits and regulates the use of mobile devices and other distractive devices while walking and crossing the streets and sidewalks to ensure public safety.

“The said ordinance aims to prohibit pedestrian walkers (from using) any distract(ive) tools that could lead them to an accident,” Councilor Peter Fianza, member of the Committee on Public Protection, Safety, Peace and Order, said in an interview Tuesday.

The proposal was calendared for second reading during Monday’s regular council session.

Fianza said once approved, the ordinance requires all pedestrians to be vigilant when they walk on the street and not to use gadgets, such as mobile phones, books and other objects “that distract someone’s line of sight.”

The proposal was authored by SOFAD councilor, Eriko Coscolueda, and was approved on first reading during the regular session of the city council on October 8 last year, when the scouts sat as officials for a day. It was just one of the several proposed ordinances authored by the scouts.

The city government has institutionalized the scouting program during October, annually giving boy and girl scouts, from elementary to high school who are enrolled in private or public schools, to sit as officials for a day after a screening process conducted by the Girl and Boy Scouts of the Philippines.

Fianza said the concept of the proposed ordinance was based on the anti-distracted walking measure in Honolulu, Hawaii.

He said if this is approved into an ordinance, the city would be the first to implement it in the entire country.

“The gist of the legislation is to avoid accidents involving pedestrians who keep themselves busy using gadgets while crossing the road,” the councilor said.

Once approved as an ordinance, violators will be meted a penalty of a PHP1,000 fine or render community service for the first offense; PHP2,000 and community service for the second offense or one to 10 days imprisonment; and PHP2,500 and community service or imprisonment of 11 to 30 days for the third offense. With reports from Aiza Caramto, OJT/PNA –