THAT DOES IT - Korina Sanchez - The Freeman

It’s so frustrating to travel within Metro Manila nowadays. Road anarchy seems to be on the rise with the lack of traffic enforcers to enforce the rules of the road. Even with social media pitching in with dash cam videos of traffic violators, it has not done anything to stem the tide of violators. I wonder if these videos are even submitted to authorities for appropriate action at all.

We’re talking of those who counterflow, disobey traffic lights, and don’t care about signs such as “Do Not Enter”, “One Way”, “No Left Turn” and so on. Traffic enforcers are only visible at major intersections but anywhere else is no man’s land where road rage incidents are just waiting to happen. So, the question is: What’s the point of having traffic rules?

What is needed is an official, whether from the LTO, MMDA, or PNP, to have his boots on the ground to see to it that everyone, no exception, follows traffic rules. I say this because I still see private vehicles identified by their private license plates with police escorts and disrespecting traffic rules and motorists alike. It has been made clear over and over again that only certain high-ranking officials in government can have police escorts. I don’t even know if these escorted vehicles are government officials. They could be entitled politicians or wealthy private citizens who feel everyone else is beneath them. By the way, what do motorcycle-riding police officers do besides provide escort services? I don’t see them flagging down offenders or even chasing one. Are they all delegated to serve some government officials, politicians, and entitled rich people?

Fines for violators should be increased to an amount that would make violators never forget or think twice before committing them. Instilling road discipline has been ignored by almost all administrations. I think it’s about time this is addressed. With the number of violators every day, the fines could help generate funds to be used elsewhere such as in education, healthcare, and national security. The official I spoke of earlier can identify problem spots on the smaller roads and deputize persons to enforce them. But they will need police assistance should there be a violator who disrespects them. I remember when the late MMDA chairman Bayani Fernando wanted to arm MMDA enforcers with large knives for their protection after several incidents of violent encounters with traffic offenders. I wouldn’t go that far, but enforcers do need protection.

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