As President Rodrigo Duterte leans heavily on his Cabinet Secretaries and appointees to stop corruption at every level of government service, Department of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade responds with an austere message to traffic enforcers at the opening of the retraining program for members of the Inter-Agency Committee on Traffic (I-ACT) held in the headquarters of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).
Members of the I-ACT include personnel from the Department of Transportation (DOTr), MMDA, Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG), Land Transportation Office (LTO), and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).
"In Cabinet meetings, President Rodrigo Duterte is always reiterating and emphasizing his order against corruption. As personnel in charge of enforcement, anti-corruption is your marching order," said Tugade.
In order to stress the importance of anti-corruption drive, Tugade warned his audience that he will be "uncompromising and unforgiving" when it comes to corruption – no matter how big or small the act may be.
Tugade said that the standing policy for personnel is to refrain from accepting cash, gifts or favors. Recently, it has come to light that personnel themselves pose as ‘fixers’ in order to extort money from citizens.
"Do not ever attempt to celebrate your birthdays with the food coming from motorists, transport operators and businesses. If I know about it, you will be in hot water," Tugade warned.
Citing a Japanese study in 2012 that showed how businesses lose and estimated Php 3 billion a day due to the traffic congestion, Tugade urged the traffic enforcers to do their job properly.
"Every day, businesses lose billions of pesos due to traffic gridlock. This is why we need to do our job properly. Well, if you fail to fulfill your mandate, just quit. There are others who can enter the service and perform well," added Tugade.
The seven-day retraining program aims to enhance the skills of I-ACT personnel in traffic direction and control while also instilling values formation and Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
"As I come to you in humility, I come to you with a request. Let us work together and show the people that they can trust traffic enforcers, that they must respect your authority. It is possible if you effectively perform your duties. There is a need to put emphasis on values formation, especially if you are dealing with traffic problems. We need to put people who have good moral values in order for them to effectively carry out their duties in the midst of all these problems," Tugade said.