THE House committee on revision of laws has endorsed for plenary approval a bill seeking to impose stiffer penalties for stealing or vandalizing government road signs and other warning devices, accessories, and other facilities.
The committee chaired by Rep. Cheryl Deloso-Montalla approved House Bill No. 2090 as it noted that stolen and damaged road signages and devices are one of the causes of fatal accidents across the country.
The bill, principally authored by Deputy Speaker Raneo Abu of Batangas, seeks to impose a 12 to 15 years of jail time or P200,000 to P300,000 fine or both for stealing or vandalism of road signs and other paraphernalia.
“These (road signs and warning devices) are installed as safeguards to motorists and pedestrians to avoid loss of lives,” Abu pointed out.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has reported that some 42,558 pieces of signages and devices it installed have been stolen and vandalized since January 24, 2013.
Under Article 308 of the Revised Penal Code or punishment on theft, properties subject of theft do not include traffic signage, warning signs and traffic protective devices such as highway or bridge railings.
Under HBN 2090, damaging or vandalizing road signs and warning devices, also including manhole covers and their accessories, will be slapped with six to 10-year imprisonment or P100,000 to P150,000 fine or both.
According to Abu, the penalties will be harsher against government employees who will be found guilty of the offenses cited in the bill.
This could lead to the forfeiture of their retirement benefits and disbarment from any employment within the government service.
Abu’s proposal provides incentives to those who will give information leading to the apprehension of violators of this measure and these motivations will be provided under the Implementing Rules and Regulations.
Abu noted that it was former AGHAM Party-List Rep. Angelo B. Palmones who first filed the bill.
PNP-Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) records as of June 20, 2016 show that from the 15, 272 incidents of road crashes across the country that resulted in 1,252 deaths in 2014, the number has increased to 24, 565 road crash incidents that resulted in 1,040 deaths in 2015.