'Parking in malls, hotels should be free'

Posted at 04/10/14 4:18 PM

MANILA - House Deputy Speaker Sergio Apostol wants parking fees in shopping malls, hotels, and other similar establishments scrapped.

"Parking fees exacted by these establishments are definitely irreconcilable with the essence of the Consumers Act, which protects consumers against abuses by setting the standards of suitable conduct for business and industry. It is a matter of courtesy that malls or hotels for that matter should not collect parking fees," said Apostol, who is also representative of the Second District of Leyte.

He said these establishments should not make a business out of their parking lots.

"It is totally wrongful that malls and other commercials have practically built whole new businesses anchored entirely on making money out of their car parking facilities that ought to be made available for free to their customers," said Apostol.

He filed House Bill 3779, which seeks to prohibit owners of shopping malls, hotels, and similar commercial establishments, their agents or authorized representatives from imposing, exacting, collecting and/or charging any and all fees for the use of parking spaces located within these establishments, except owners of buildings or spaces which are exclusively devoted or utilized to provide parking spaces and services and not in any way connected with any other business.

The bill also provides that no building permits shall be given unless owners submit a sworn statement that parking spaces shall be made available for free.

Owners of erring business establishments shall pay a fine of P100,000 to P500,000, while members of the Board of Directors or any other corporate officers face imprisonment of not more than five years.

Apostol said parking should be free since the malls and hotels are already earning from the customers using their services and operations.

"It should be part of their service. Worse, when your car is vandalized in their car park, they refuse to take responsibility for it when it's their car park you pay for the privilege to park. They provide security supposedly to protect car owners and yet they refuse to account for their liability," he said.