MMDA: Chavit’s P200,000 incentive a ‘donation’

Ghio Ong - The Philippine Star
MMDA: Chavit�s P200,000 incentive a �donation�
Former Ilocos Sur governor Chavit Singson came to the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) headquarters on April 15, 2024.
STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — After being accosted by traffic enforcers and offering them a cash reward of P100,000, former Ilocos Sur governor Luis “Chavit” Singson yesterday fulfilled his promise and even doubled the incentive, according to the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

Singson’s two-vehicle convoy was pulled over by traffic enforcers for using the EDSA busway in Cubao, Quezon City on April 8.

Singson’s armored car has no license plates, but he claimed it was registered with the Land Transportation Office.

“I want to personally apologize to those who accosted my convoy. No one should emulate what I have done,” Singson, who visited the MMDA central office yesterday, said.

Acting MMDA Chairman Romando Artes received the cash incentive, which he said turned into a “donation” for the agency.

“Even though it’s not allowed, I will give this cash reward to lessen my sin,” Singson told Artes.

Artes said the money would go to the MMDA’s general fund.

“It will not be given to a particular person or group,” he said.

To avoid bribery accusations and make the donation legitimate, the MMDA had to refer to the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, Artes noted.

The MMDA considered as “substantial” the amount of Singson’s donation, contrary to the “modest gifts” prescribed by the law, Artes said.

Allocations from Singson’s donation would have to be approved by the Metro Manila Council, he added.

Artes assured the public that there were no strings attached to Singson’s donation.

“Just because he donated does not mean he is now allowed to use the EDSA busway,” the MMDA chief said.

Singson also paid the P5,000 fine imposed on  his drivers, who were reportedly first-time violators of the EDSA bus lane policy.

He urged the MMDA to apprehend persons who would use his name to avoid fines.

“Especially now with artificial intelligence, in which my voice can be imitated. If someone uses my name, surely it won’t be me because I will never use the EDSA bus lane again,” he said.

Commuter buses, ambulances, fire trucks, police vehicles as well as the convoys of the President, Vice President, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives and Chief Justice are authorized to use the EDSA bus lane.

Violators may face fines of up to P30,000 and their driver’s license could be revoked.

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