Cebu News

Drag racing still persists in Mandaue

Flor Z. Perolina - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - It seemed like there is no stopping the illegal drag racing activities in Mandaue City, and they unnecessarily place the lives of motorists on the line.

Police Officer 2 Rosendo Ortalla Jr. of the Mandaue City Police Office Traffic Division confirmed the illegal activity still persist, particularly at the North Reclamation Area.

“Actually dili ra kami nga unit ang nag-monitor nila diha lakip na ang Mobile ug SWAT; apan lisud gihapon ni silang dakpon kay ang polis ra sad ilang bantayan ,” he said.

Ortalla said they have caught no one so far because once the lookouts notice that the police are approaching, the racers would immediately park their vehicles by the roadside.

He said that aside from motorcycles, the drag racers also use hatchback cars.

“Anha na sila sugod sa may Ouano Avenue. Motuyok ra sila diha su’d Reclamation area” Ortalla said.

He said that in the past, they managed to impound two motorcycles, but the drag racers apparently remain undeterred because they are only issued with a citation ticket and made to pay only P200 for “reckless driving.”

The Land Transportation Office-7 has allegedly terminated the deputation of Mandaue traffic enforcers so they could no longer issue temporary operator’s permits (TOPs), which drivers fear more since their licenses get confiscated.

Police visibility, Ortalla said, is greatly needed since the mere presence of policemen already serves as deterrence, especially that the racers would simply lie low for a while when the police are having a crackdown, only to return when everything has died down.

The racers, who are mostly from well-to-do families, would again converge at a gasoline station along Ouano Avenue for the competition, which starts shortly after midnight and usually ends during the wee morning hours.

A taxi driver said he happened to pass by the NRA past 1 a.m. last Monday to bring a passenger to the Mactan Cebu International Airport and that his experience with the drag racers was simply nerve-wracking after a racing motorcycle almost hit his taxicab.

Though no actual collision happened, his life and that of his passenger were unnecessarily exposed to danger after the taxicab almost hit the center island in his effort to avoid the racers.

“Kay dili man gyud kaha ni sila mabadlong, hatagan unta ni sila og lugar sa gobiyerno nga adto sila maglumba nga dili maka-angin sa ubang tawo makadisgrasya ba kaha,” the driver told The FREEMAN .

Meanwhile , Traffic Efficiency Agency of Mandaue (TEAM)  chief Edwin Ermac said traffic enforcers are only up to 9 p.m. and that the skeletal force that remains are assigned for the towing operation .

Ermac said the drag racers often would just mock them if ever they are arrested.

 “Kataw-an ra gyud ta ana nila kun mo-issue ta og citation ticket kay dili man ta makakuha sa ilang lisensya.  Ang P200 pwede ra sad dili bayran ug huwaton lang nila nga ikiha sila sa korte unya ang outcome igo ra pud silang pamultahan gihapon og P200,” Ermac said.

He said that it is much better if they issue a TOP because it carries a big penalty.

“Ang problema sad ron kay gipang-recall na sa LTO ang TOP human mipahamtang sila og dagkong silot sa traffic violation, busa karon nag-request na sad ta nila nga unta i-deputized ta ug balik,” he added.

He lamented that traffic violations in the city only carry a P200 to P500 penalty.

Meanwhile, Mandaue City Administrator James Abadia said the city will coordinate with LTO regarding the concern.

For now, he said, the city would use whatever resources available to address the problem.

As to the minimal penalties imposed on traffic violations in the city, he said he would refer the matter to the TEAM board of directors so it could tackle the problem during one of its monthly meetings. –/RHM (FREEMAN)

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