GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/14 July) — Land transportation and police traffic enforcers seized more than 250 illegally-installed sirens or “wang-wangs” and other banned vehicle accessories in checkpoints here and nearby Koronadal City in the last three days.
Jinna Felix, law enforcement chief of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) district office in Koronadal City, said they confiscated some 14 sirens, 185 fog lights and two blinkers as part of their intensified operations in the area against the use of the prohibited vehicle accessories.
President Benigno Simeon Aquino III initially called for the implementation of the regulation during his inaugural address last June 30.
“Kayo ba ay minsan ring nalimutan ng pamahalaang inyong iniluklok sa puwesto? Ako rin. Kayo ba ay nagtiis na sa trapiko para lamang masingitan ng isang naghahari-hariang de-wangwang sa kalsada? Ako rin. Kayo ba ay sawang-sawa na sa pamahalaang sa halip na magsilbi sa taumbayan ay kailangan pa nila itong pagpasensiyahan at tiisin? Ako rin” (Have you ever been ignored by the very government you helped put in power? I have. Have you had to endure being rudely shoved aside by the siren-blaring escorts of those who love to display their position and power over you? I have, too. Have you experienced exasperation and anger at a government that instead of serving you, needs to be endured by you? So have I), Aquino said.
LTO and police traffic enforcers established joint checkpoints in entry and exit points of Koronadal City starting Monday as part of the ongoing nationwide crackdown against the use of
“wang-wangs” and other banned vehicle accessories.
Felix said most motorists voluntarily gave up their installed illegal accessories but a number of them also resisted when accosted by law enforcers.
“We offered them the option to voluntarily surrender the prohibited items or risk getting caught later and pay a fine of at least P15,000,” she said.
Felix said they also apprehended several government-owned vehicles found violating LTO regulations, such as bearing improvised license plates and expired vehicle registration.
She said a number of drivers assigned to some government-owned vehicles even turned out to be carrying expired driver’s licenses.
In this city, enforcers from LTO General Santos and Sarangani district offices also confiscated at least 50 more illegally-installed foglights and one siren since Monday.
Rasib Romaob, LTO-Sarangani operations chief, said most of the illegal vehicle accessories were seized from vehicles plying the General Santos-Alabel, Sarangani route.
“Our operations are ongoing and we’re planning to set up random checkpoints in the area within the next two weeks,” he said.
The LTO central office earlier ordered a crackdown against the illegal use of sirens, bells, whistles, horns and other similar devices as provided for in Presidential Decree (PD) 96, issued in 1973 by then President Ferdinand Marcos.
PD 96 provided that the said gadgets or devices “may be attached to and used only on motor vehicles designated for official use by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, National Bureau of Investigation, Land Transportation Commission, Police Departments, Fire Departments, and hospital ambulances.”
For government officials, it cited that only the President, Vice-President, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Supreme Court Chief Justice are entitled to use such devices.
President Aquino has avoided using the siren to serve as example. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)