Proposed ordinance on collection of congestion fee in Baguio approved on first reading
The Baguio City council approved on first reading the proposed ordinance on the collection of congestion fees which will be applied to all visiting vehicle owners or drivers. The purpose of this proposed ordinance, according to its proponent Councilor Leandro Yangot, is geared toward alleviating the worsening traffic problem in Baguio City.
How much will be collected?
The City of Baguio will collect fifty pesos (P50.00) from every vehicle owner or driver upon entry to the City of Pines. The collection of congestion fees is only applicable to non-residents of Baguio City. Residents of Baguio City are exempted from paying the congestion fee upon presentation of identification as proof that they are bonafide residents of Baguio.
The Rationale Behind the Proposed ordinance
According to the proposed ordinance, Baguio City’s road networks are narrow as it was designed in the 1900’s for 25,000 inhabitants. Baguio City’s population according to the 2020 census is 366,358. The influx of non-residents to Baguio City contributes to the worsening traffic and thus there is a need to regulate the entry of visitors’ vehicles which, according to the ordinance, could be done through the collection of congestion fees.
In the said proposed ordinance, the Baguio City treasurer’s office will be tasked with creating the guidelines to ensure its proper implementation.
Baguio City Mayor weighs in
According to Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, the proposed ordinance is good however it should be taken into the context of the overall smart mobility master plan. The said Smart Mobility master plan includes the collection of congestion fees as one of its components/elements. The Smart Mobility master plan will be presented to the public and will be subjected to a series of hearings.
The Mayor added that the fifty pesos congestion fee is low and should be increased. This was said in the context that other tourist destinations like Boracay are collecting higher fees. The Mayor further said that Baguio City’s core agenda should be to generate revenue since the prices of goods and cost of services are increasing however the City’s budget stagnated or remained the same.
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