(File photo)

The City Council approved on 2nd reading this week a new ordinance providing for the establishment of bicycle lanes on national highways, in keeping with the policy being pushed by the national government.

The ordinance calls for the establishment of a network of bicycle lanes and improved pedestrian walkways to ensure biker safety.

City councilor Peter Maristela, chair of the committee on transportation, however, remained critical of the ordinance, noting that there was no fund appropriation to establish the bicycle lanes.

“Hindi pupuwedeng i-implement sa lungsod ng Puerto Princesa. Kaya nga po natin nilaparan ang ating kalsada para ‘yong ating mga sasakyan ay mayroong daanan na maluwag tapos likas na lang gagawin na bike lanes,” he said.

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“Kung gusto talaga nila maglagay ng bike lanes ay mag appropriate sila ng pondo at mag gawa talaga sila sa gilid sa kalsada at gumawa ng bike lanes,” Maristela said.

“Parang ginawang madalian na naman para lang matawag na bike lanes pero sa totoo lang hindi naman talaga bike lanes ‘yon dahil dinadaan talaga ‘yon ng mabibilis na sasakyan tapos ito sila ngayon i-ppressure tayo, uutusan tayo na gumawa ng ordinansa para i-consider na bike lanes ‘yon,” he added.

The ordinance, however, needs to be signed by Mayor Lucilo Bayron in order to take effect.

in July 2020, Mayor Bayron vetoed an earlier version of the ordinance that sought to establish 1.5-meter bike lanes on city roads, citing difficulties in its implementation.

Meanwhile, Maristela urged the national government to file the bill in Congress instead of pressing on local government units to adopt it.

“Para bang walang kayang utusan yung DILG at DOTr kundi ‘yong mga mga local government units. Bakit hindi sila pumunta sa kongreso at kongreso ang magpasa ng batas patungkol dito sapagkat ang maapektuhan dito ay hindi naman daanan ng city roads kundi national highway,” he said.

Meanwhile, Councilor Herbert Dilig said they support the establishment of bike lanes and believe that they, too, should share the responsibility and be a “responsible road users”.

“Since we are doing this to respect the rights of the cyclists, they should likewise share the responsibility and be responsible road users,” Dilig said.

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