Saturday, 3 July 2010

MMDA spy cameras show President following traffic rules

By Niña Calleja
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines — On their screens linked to spy cameras on the road, personnel of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) watched the President pass through Edsa, stop at every red light and make U-turns like an ordinary motorist.

“We are very impressed,” MMDA General Manager Robert Nacianceno said yesterday after monitoring the convoy of President Aquino on its way to Camp Aguinaldo for the military handover ceremony.

“We kept talking about it over the radio. It was amazing to see our President setting an example for our motorists,” Nacianceno said.

Nacianceno advised Aquino, however, that if he wanted to survive the heavy traffic in Metro Manila and avoid being late for his appointments, he should leave his house “earlier than usual.”

“He is showing us that a government official is a public servant and, thus, must serve the people. How will you do that if you always get ahead and take advantage of your constituents?” he said.

Reminder to violators

Nacianceno said Aquino’s policy banning the use of street sirens had helped the MMDA enforce traffic regulations.

“Every time we apprehend those with blinkers and sirens, traffic enforcers would say ‘Even the President follows the rules.’ Violators will now be ashamed to evade the law,” he said.

Nacianceno said he and other MMDA officials were no longer resorting to unnecessary counterflows on the road. “Nakakahiya (It’s embarrassing),” he said.

Even cops must obey
The Manila Police District (MPD) director, Chief Supt. Rodolfo Magtibay, reminded policemen to themselves obey traffic rules, including avoiding the use of blinkers and sirens in non-police operations.

Apart from avoiding use of blinkers and sirens on their private vehicles, policemen driving motorcycles should always wear crash helmets and heed traffic signs.

Magtibay particularly warned policemen against driving against the flow of traffic and flaunting their badges when stopped for traffic violation.

“How can we expect private motorists to obey traffic rules if the policemen themselves are disregarding them,” Magtibay said.

Manila policemen caught violating traffic rules will be charged administratively, he said.

Quezon City police operatives said the anti-sirens policy should be reviewed so not to hamper their operations.

“We volunteered to dismantle the devices in compliance with an order and avoid possible administrative charges, but guidelines should be issued because there are police operations where these gadgets are needed,” said one officer, who asked not to be named for fear of sanctions.

With reports from Jeannette I. Andrade and Nancy Carvajal


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