BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance known as the anti-name dropping in traffic apprehension measure and prescribing penalties for violators.
The ordinance authored by Councilor Michael L. Lawana defined name dropping as the practice of naming or alluding to very important people, high ranking government officials and institutions within a conversion with the traffic enforcers during traffic apprehension with the intention of escaping or avoiding penalty from traffic violation or the imposition of the necessary fine.
Further, traffic enforcers shall refer to enforcers deputized by the Baguio City Police Office–Traffic Management Unit (BCPO-TMU), Highway Patrol Group and the Flying Squad of the Land Transportation Office (LTO); traffic aides deputized by the city government through the traffic section of the City Engineering Office and deputized barangay officials and other barangay residents pursuant to Administrative order No. 116, series of 2016 in relation to Administrative Order No. 173, series of 2018.
Under the proposed ordinance, any person found to be in violation of the measure shall be fined P2,000 for every offense committed.
Further, in addition to the fine, the fact that the driver has been penalized is not a bar to his or her conviction under the general penal laws.
The ordinance notes traffic enforcers often encounter situations during traffic apprehensions where apprehended erring drivers’ resort to name-dropping of very important people, high ranking government officials and institutions purportedly for the latter to get them off the hook.
According to the proposal, name-dropping also involves or results to alleged attempts of bribery, threat and blackmail like, lose of job, transfer or being relieved from post or duty and institution, or filing of criminal, civil and administrative charges to the damage and injury of traffic enforcers.
The proponent asserts there is a need to put an end to this irregular practice in the city to protect the welfare of traffic enforcers who are faithfully discharging and performing their assigned duties and responsibilities, especially to strictly implement traffic rules and regulations to prevent the congestion of traffic in their designated areas.
Moreover, the ordinance will serve as a protection for traffic enforcers from the abuses by erring motorists who simply want to evade the consequences of their traffic violations.
Because of the fear of being fired from his or her job or transferred to another destinations, the ordinance claims traffic enforcers often accede to the name-dropping of the erring motorists and allow them to escape being fined for the violations that they have committed, thus, the possibility of them repeating the same any time.
By Dexter A. See