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IN MY EYES: Wake up or ship out!

Edward B. Antonio

Many towns in Ilocos Sur strictly implement the “No helmet, no travel policy.”

It is a national law, fellas. It is applicable anywhere in the country for motorcycle-riding people travelling along the national highway.

This is a good law since wearing helmets is a precautionary measure for the safety of the motorist. That’s why some towns strictly implement it. In fact, some municipal legislative councils strengthened this law by coining an ordinance stating the particular fees for erring motorists. Different towns collect different amounts. Some collect P500, others P150 only as in:

No helmet-P500, others P150

No license-P500, others P150

No side mirrors-P500, others P150

No registration: P500, others P150

Noisy mufflers-P500, others P150.

So, if a motorist violates all of these things, he must cough out a total of P2,500 or P750 only. If the violator is apprehended by the Land Transportation Office Flying Squad, the penalties might reach more than P10,000. I heard that a no helmet penalty to the LTO Flying Squad has a penalty of P1,700.

There’s this town that implements the “No helmet, no travel” policy and it makes use of its traffic enforcers to apprehend motorists without helmet. It seems they have a grand time doing their job. They said they are only doing their duties as traffic law enforcers. That’s good. But one thing is very noticeable. Some of them do not have helmets, too!

It’s just like saying: “Do what I say but do not do what I do!” So, who will police these erring enforcers? Are they willing to bite their own tails and ticket themselves?

Now, here comes the funny (or very irritating) side of the job that might blow anyone’s top. There are traffic enforcers who seem to just select the people they want to apprehend.

My little birdie said that when he was accosted, he was immediately ticketed with P1000. The breakdown is: P500 for no helmet and P500 for no license. Numerous non-helmet wearing motorists next passed by but these traffic enforcers just looked at them as if they did not exist.

Now, this one is the more irritating part of the scene, fellas.

My little birdie said that one motorist without a helmet voluntarily stopped for apprehension. A traffic enforcer approached him and they had a little talk. After a while, the rider went free without being ticketed. It turned out he was an acquaintance of the traffic enforcer!

Because of this sort of favoritism or malpractice, my little birdie says he no longer stops when he is apprehended by these same traffic enforcers. He ignores them and just speeds away!

I do not trust these traffic enforcers anymore. They do not implement the law equally,” he said.

My little birdie also says they (traffic enforcers) do not have definite schedule to accost offenders.

Now you see them, now you don’t,” he said.

He said they always position themselves in a non-conspicuous side of the highway or in places where they could not be seen at a distance. They always work in tandem or in 3s or 4s.

They position themselves just after a curve or just after a turn so the motorist has to slow down,” he said. “They have their own motorcycles which we don’t know if they are registered or not. We don’t even know if they have their own driver’s license!”

Now here comes another twist.

There are lots of colorum Public Utility Vehicles (PUVs) passing by and picking up passengers along the national highway in this town. Colorum vehicles are illegal ones. They do not have franchise and are not registered to function as such. Sometimes, they stop for some 15 minutes to wait for passengers. Sometimes, they even park in front of these traffic enforcers. But they would not apprehend the drivers of their registration documents and franchises although they know that these are colorum PUVs.

Maybe they are afraid.

Or maybe they concentrate in apprehending the small fries only because they are too scared they might step on the foot of the big whales who own these colorum vehicles.

My little birdie says: “Maybe they are given “lagay.”

A radio commentator is always lambasting the inaction of these traffic enforcers why they are mum in apprehending these colorum PUVs to the detriment of the legally operating ones. To these days, I yet have to hear a traffic enforcer who became bold enough to apprehend a colorum driver and charge him with the usual fees coined by the town council.

May these things be eye-openers to these traffic enforcers to do their duties well, exempting nobody even if those involved are their family members or friends, or even town VIPs.

The law is the law.

It maybe harsh but it is the law made by the people whom we elected to govern us.

As for us, motorists, we will wait and see.

Mr. Traffic Enforcers, wake up, or ship out!