CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/21 February) – Motorcycle-riding policemen often think the city’s traffic rules and regulations don’t apply to them, officials said Thursday.
Marlon Libot, a trustee of the Communications Link for Emergency Assistance Network Inc. (CLEAN) said that often, policemen flash their identification cards not their drivers’ licenses when accosted for not wearing safety helmets by traffic enforcers.
“What can a civilian traffic enforcer do when he is in a situation like this? Most of the time, the enforcers just walk away or let the erring policeman go,” Libot said.
CLEAN Inc., regularly fields its members to assist the Land Traffic Office or the Cagayan de Oro Police Office enforce some order to ease the worsening traffic problem in the city.
The city’s Road and Traffic Administration (RTA) announced on Thursday they will strictly enforce traffic and anti-jaywalking laws starting on March 1 to help restore order in the streets.
Supt. Michael John Deloso, chief of the city traffic police, said his office arrested 30 police officers last month for riding their motorcycles without wearing safety helmets.
“It is really frustrating to see that the worst violators come from our rank and file while we are moving heaven and earth to clean our image,” Deloso said.
He said he understands the reluctance of traffic enforcers in issuing traffic citation tickets to erring policemen, but said this is necessary and urged the public to help.
“You can video the violation. Everyone now has a phone camera. Submit it to us and we assure you we will deal with the erring police officers,” he added.
Besides erring policemen, Libot said drivers of private and government-owned vehicles are also among the top of traffic violators in the city.
He said 60 percent of the 150 drivers caught in Divisoria last month were private car owners and drivers of government-owned vehicles.
“These are the drivers who parked their vehicles in the middle of the streets with their hazard lights blinking. These are the drivers who dropped the names of officials or politicians when accosted by a traffic enforcer,” he added.
Lawyer Jose Edgar Uy, chief consultant on Cagayan de Oro traffic enforcement said they will strictly enforce the traffic rules starting March 1.
He said the Divisoria section from Hayes to J.R. Streets will be the pilot area for the strict compliance of traffic rules.
He said they will impose a P500 fine or community service for anti-jaywalking violations.
“We are now conducting an information campaign so there will be no arrest yet. On March 1, we will strictly implement our campaign in the Divisoria section,” Uy said.
He said the local government will allot P93-million for the installation of 69 CCTV cameras and 43 traffic lights in strategic areas in the city.
Cagayan de Oro has one of the worst traffic conditions in Mindanao, a problem capitalized by Mayor Oscar Moreno to win in the last May 11 elections. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)