EDSA boss says it will help them a lot in solving the traffic epidemic

If you live within Metro Manila or its neighboring cities, chances are, your daily commute to and from work involves passing by major thoroughfares manned by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority's (MMDA) personnel. Their primary job is to keep the traffic flowing smoothly and part of that is to apprehend drivers and motorcycle riders who violate traffic laws.

However, some motorists seem to think they can challenge the MMDA's authority, particularly since the traffic enforcers cannot arrest erring motorists over minor offenses, even if they are defiant or uncooperative. The result is an “all bark and no bite” belief spreading among some “entitled” drivers.

On his social media post today (which has since been deleted or edited), EDSA boss Edison “Bong” Nebrija has lamented on how, at times, his colleagues are helpless in upholding the law, especially during instances like that of “5 minute girl” – an attorney, who seemed to be so entitled that a simple traffic offense turned into a more than 30-minutes standoff because she kept on refusing to surrender her license or have her car towed.

“Give us the authority to confiscate licenses and pull out drivers from their cars who do not want to surrender licenses especially those entitled drivers who often delay our apprehensions,” said Nebrija. He further added that “Can you imagine how long it took for us to complete a PhP200 apprehension? I even asked the PO1 on scene to pull her out of the car so we could tow her vehicle and the officer asked me 'Sir ano ba yan traffic or criminal case?'...I said both, it started as traffic and then criminal for direct assault when she hit my motorcycle rider.”

Eh simpleng banggaan kailangan pa kaming tumawag ng imbestigador. Kapag walang available we are obligated na ihatid pa yung both parties sa traffic bureau, pulling out our own men from their deployment. [In a simple accident, we still have to call for an investigator (from PNP-HPG). If none are available, we (the MMDA) are then obligated to bring both parties to the traffic bureau, pulling out our own men from their deployment.]”

In essence, Nebrija wants the MMDA to have the authority to detain violators if they are proving to be a danger to the public, and/or their constables. He then ended the note with this statement: “This is not only about arrests, this is [about] making us more effective as enforcers, not to mention gaining [us more] institutional respect”.

As a motorist, would you agree with the request of the EDSA boss for police powers?