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The Fat Man Supports Bill 5098

The other week, Representative Sherwin Gatchalian of Valenzuela filed HB 5098, a bill that would require all car owners and buyers in Metro Manila to provide proof of owning garage space for their vehicles. This is some thing that we should have passed a long time ago, especially because this city’s not getting any bigger, but the population is.

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A lot of people think that this could just be another avenue for corruption. That might be true. Another set of people like the idea, but don’t think that Metro Manila has the proper manpower or political will to properly execute and police this law. That’s also true.

But the fact is, the only problem we really have when it comes to parking—or in everything we do, if you think about it—is that we Pinoys just don’t know how to be courteous. Let’s take the issue of parking, for instance; I will share with you my experience in how fellow Filipinos can be abusive of free parking.

See, our house has enough parking for two and a half sedans out front. One of these parking spots is right in front of our driveway, while the other is reserved for guests. Our street has recently seen an increase in new town residents, and some of these people have their own vehicles.

Now, half a year ago, one of the new residents opened up a bakery at the corner of my street and the town’s main street. This was good for some time; I rather enjoyed their bread. But then somebody from their bakery started parking their red Ford in front of our house, in the parking reserved for guests. We didn’t know where the car came from; it just started parking in that spot without warning.

So I went over to the baranggay and complained about it. It turns out that the guy had asked the baranggay chairman for permission to park in the spot—but had conveniently forgotten to knock on our door, and ask for ours.

And just this morning, my father forgot to bring the car into the garage. He was parked in the guest parking spot, and had fallen asleep on the couch in the living room. The next day, an Innova had parked in front of the gate. Again, the owner did this without warning.

Both times, I managed to track down the owner and politely ask them to move their vehicles. But the thing is, I shouldn’t have to do that. They should have enough courtesy to ring the bell, introduce themselves to the owner of the house, and ask for the permission to park in front of the house. It doesn’t matter whether you’re staying there for an hour, or overnight. The point is, you need to make sure that the owner knows who you are, and where to find you. That’s just common courtesy.

And it’s sad that we need a bill to ensure that common courtesy is observed. But if that’s what it takes to make the dumber denizens of the metro recognize that being neighborly isn’t a license to abuse hospitality, then I’m all for it. At the very least, it will keep me from finally reaching that point wherein I smash their windows and let the air out their tires in frustration.

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