Earlier today, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) traffic manager Edison 'Bong' Nebrija requested that his traffic constables have more authority in confiscating driver's licenses and detaining belligerent violators.
Nebrija expressed his dismay due to past incidents wherein the traffic constables have to endure countless procedures when faced with road traffic accidents / incidents. Even in simple accidents they cannot do much since a police investigator is needed at the scene.
Given the plight faced by the MMDA, Congressman Bayani Fernando, a former Chairman of the gov't agency himself, suggested that the traffic constables be armed with (get this) bolos. If you're not familiar with the bolo, it is basically a huge single-edged knife that resembles a machete.
Why the suggestion to arm the MMDA with bolos? According to Fernando, giving the traffic constables police power will not be the best form of action as they lack the training for that.
“It might imperil, they don't have the skill to do that. In extreme cases, they can [exercise police power] like any individual, especially to protect themselves. Otherwise, it may not be necessary. It might even be bad, it will embolden them. And without restrain, it can lead to more trouble,” Fernando said.
But where does the bolo come into play? Fernando mentioned that during his time as Mayor of Marikina, he had several traffic enforcers in the city armed with bolos in order to defend themselves from stubborn traffic violators, as well as from other elements that might do harm. He also said that it can act as a deterrant to violators.
“Yung mga bantay ko sa palengke, inarmasan ko ng bolo. Dahil karamihan nung may mga tulak na kariton noong araw, may ice pick, merong knives doon. E mas mahaba yung bolo, e di talo sila. Sa record ng Marikina, walang pinaggamitan nung bolo. Pero tumino ang Marikina. [My enforcers in the market, I armed them with bolos. That's because most of the individuals that have push carts have ice picks and even knives. But the bolos is longer, so they lose. For the record, there have been no incidents where the bolo was used. But Marikina became more disciplined.
Fernando added that it would be good to arm the MMDA only if necessary. By his logic, this (rather extreme) measure could deter stubborn or aggressive violators from attacking or harming constables when they're apprehended. He also mentioned that this type of reasoning is similar to the 'batuta' (baton) used by the PNP from before. But since they're now gone, police automatically go for their firearms in dire situations added Fernando.
Comments from netizens ranged from comedic to rather serious. Some mentioned that it could become a form of abuse or as a way to threaten motorists or citizens. And with traffic some times becoming the source of stress for motorists and traffic constables, it might even result in unwanted injuries, or even fatalities, from the two parties.
Source: GMA News