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Cebu News

Government execs, personnel barred from using sirens, blinkers

Caecent No-ot Magsumbol - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. has revived a policy prohibiting government officials and personnel from using sirens, blinkers and other similar signaling or flashing devices.

Exempted from the order are the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the Philippine National Police (PNP), fire trucks, hospital ambulances, and other emergency vehicles.

“All government officials and personnel are hereby prohibited from utilizing sirens, blinkers and other similar gadgets that produce exceptionally loud or startling sound, including dome lights, blinkers, or other similar signaling or flashing devices,” Administrative Order (AO) 18 stated.

Marcos said his administration is committed to promote the welfare and well-being of the general public by ensuring a safe and more organized road and traffic environment.

The AO was signed by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin by the authority of the President on March 25.

Marcos noted the unauthorized and indiscriminate use of sirens, blinkers and other similar signaling or flashing devices has been rampant, causing traffic disruptions and unsafe road and traffic environments. 

Unauthorized and improper use of signaling or flashing devices by government officials and employees shall be dealt with in accordance with applicable laws, rules and regulations, the AO said.

“In this light, all government officials and personnel are hereby reminded that use of sirens, dome lights, blinkers and other similar devices shall only be under exigent or emergency circumstances or situations or to ensure the expedient and safe passage of emergency responders,” Marcos said.

The president has tasked the Department of Transportation, along with other government agencies, to review, regulate and evaluate and update existing policies and guidelines to ensure the effective implementation of the AO 18, subject to existing laws, rules and regulations.

The order will take effect immediately upon publication in the Official Gazette, or in a newspaper of general circulation.

The late President Benigno Aquino III, during his inaugural address in 2010, announced his administration’s “no wang-wang” policy, strengthening Presidential Decree 96 issued by Marcos’ father and namesake in 1973. Wang-wang is a colloquial term for blaring sirens.

PD 96 allows only the AFP, PNP, NBI fire trucks and hospital ambulances to use any siren, bell, horn or similar gadgets.

In a related development, the president has also ordered the regulation of the issuance of protocol license plates to government officials amid increasing complaints on proliferation and unauthorized use.

Marcos issued EO 56 amending EO 400 (s. 2005) to regulate the issuance of protocol license plates to government officials.

The said EO cuts down the number to 14 from the previous list of 16 officials entitled to use protocol license plates.

On the list are the President with number one designation; Vice President, two; Senate President, three; Speaker of the House of Representatives, four; Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, five; Cabinet Secretaries, six; Senators, seven; and Members of the House of Representatives, eight; and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court, nine.

The Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeals (CA), Court of Tax Appeals (CTA), Sandiganbayan, and Solicitors General were given number 10 designation; the chairperson of Constitutional Commissions and Ombudsman, 11; the chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and chief of the Philippine National Police, 14.

The President, Vice President, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court may be allowed a maximum of three pairs while rest of the authorized officials may be allowed up to two pairs of protocol license plates.

Under the EO, the use of protocol license plates by authorized officials are upon the recommendation of the Land Transportation Office (LTO), approval of the Secretary of the Department of Transportation (DOTr), and based on the list of all officials with equivalent rank as the above authorized officials of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

Associate Justices of the CA, CTA and Sandiganbayan may be allowed to use protocol license plates upon LTO’s recommendation and transportation secretary’s approval, but , this shall not be “construed to authorize all other officials with equivalent rank as the Associate Justices of the CA, CTA and Sandiganbayan and below to use protocol license plates.”

Protocol license plates issued to authorized officials will only be valid during their incumbency and be used for motor vehicles duly registered in their name or officially assigned to them.

Plates are to be surrendered to LTO upon retirement, resignation, separation from office, or end of term or tour of duty.

The assignment and transfer of protocol license plates to unauthorized persons or motor vehicles is strictly prohibited. – FPL (CEBU NEWS)

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FERDINAND MARCOS JR.

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