Last week, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) traffic manager Edison 'Bong' Nebrija requested for more “police power” in order to better smoothen the traffic situation in Metro Manila. However, there seems to have been a misunderstanding for the agency's request after Congressman Bayani Fernando suggested that MMDA constables be armed with (of all things) bolos.
The MMDA recently clarified that the “police powers” they were requesting was only in a legislative sense. Specifically, the agency wanted to be able to create more effective traffic policies as well as strengthen the authority of traffic constables in sanctioning erring motorists. They did not mean that they want to arm their constables with firearms or...bolos.
One such example mentioned by MMDA General Manager Arturo “Jojo” Garcia is for confiscating driver's licenses. According to Garcia, some bus drivers already have 70 to 80 tickets and should have their licenses confiscated. However, they are still on the road today.
"Na-frustrate lang talaga si Bong. Kasi nga meron talaga tayong mga driver ng bus na ang huli ay 70, 80 plus. Sana nga kung tatlong huli, i-confiscate natin 'yan para at least madala -- hindi makakapag-hanap buhay 'yan," said Garcia. [Bong just got frustrated because we really have bus drivers who have been sanctioned 70 or 80 plus times. Maybe after three apprehensions, we could confiscate their license so they would realize their mistakes — they won’t be able to make a living]
He adds that motorists would be more disciplined on the road if their licenses could be confiscated after three apprehensions. At the moment, the MMDA is only allowed to confiscate licenses for certain violations which include colorum, out of line, counterflow, reckless driving, and in an event of an accident.
Aside from being able to confiscate licenses, more legislative power would allow the agency to craft ordinances for the whole Metro Manila. Each of the 17 local government units (LGUs) currently have their own city ordinances, and often - they are not uniform with each other. If the MMDA were to have legislative powers, they would be able to issue traffic polices that could override local ordinances. This then would make traffic laws uniform across the metro.
So for those of you that were worried to see MMDA constables equipped with bolos, you can all breathe a sigh of relief.