THAT DOES IT - Korina Sanchez (The Freeman) - January 10, 2018 - 12:00am

The Interagency Council on Traffic (I-ACT) has started clamping down on smoke belchers and dilapidated vehicles, both public and private. It is not surprising that most of the 255 apprehensions made last Monday were public utility vehicles (PUV), also part of the government's modernization program for PUVs. The Department of Transportation's "Tanggal Bulok, Tanggal Usok" campaign was in full swing. Although they did not exactly specify the parameters of what constitutes a "bulok" vehicle, I would assume these are the obviously old and poorly maintained vehicles. The agency also said they will operate at night, to cite those with lighting issues. While they're at it, they should also cite those with blinding headlights. These pose a safety hazard for oncoming vehicles. Drivers only wearing slippers will also be apprehended. According to the MMDA, there will be no timeline and deadline for the campaign. Honestly, that remains to be seen. I have actually heard that before.

But why are smoke-belching vehicles even on the road, if we have emission testing centers that have to certify all vehicles before renewing their annual registration? What is the purpose of the emission testing centers if they cannot keep smoke belchers off the road? There is obviously corruption going on in these centers, if they knowingly certify vehicles that fail the emission testing. Why allow these centers to operate at all if they cannot filter out the offending vehicles? Smoke belchers pose a deadly health hazard, I believe even worse than a controversial vaccine, aside from harming the environment.

Another issue all line agencies should address are vehicles with extremely loud exhaust pipes and systems. These cover all vehicles, especially motorcycles, tricycles, and public utility jeepneys. There are so many out there. Hearing one in the dead of night just incenses me. I remember one time while President Duterte was giving a speech, a motorcycle with an ear-splitting exhaust passed by. He paused and said that if that were in Davao he would have beaten up the driver. I would like to see that done in the whole country. 

The I-ACT will have their hands full. There are so many vehicles violating rules and regulations that have been in place for the past decades. One example is the national roads. Tricycles should not be allowed to ply these routes, but they still do, as enforcers do not enforce. And they say ignorance of the law is not an excuse. I can only hope that they are now serious in weeding out these obvious, even brazen violators. I can see many complaining once they are cited or apprehended. But that's part of the job. The agencies must explain very well why they were apprehended. Vehicles that are just too far gone to be considered safe must be impounded. We all know that the jeepney modernization program is still a sore issue, but if the government is serious about implementing it, then it should start now. Repeat offenders must also be given harsher penalties, even the cancellation of their licenses or franchises. I would like to go out one day and not have to see motorized squids inking everybody.

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