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ROUGH CUTS |    Were they neophyte traffic law enforcers?





Vic N. Sumalinog

    Who was that Lt. Colonel who heads a traffic regulations enforcement group that conducted an operation on a stretch of the C. P. Garcia Diversion Road late last week? Yes, his men positioned themselves on a downhill stretch between the GAP farm and Crossing Magtuod and flagged down every vehicle that was running at a speed over 30 kilometers per hour. Of course, on a highway like C.P. Garcia seldom will a driver of a motor vehicle ever expect that a speed of even a little over 30 kilometers will earn him or her a ticket for a traffic violation.

     How could they be when it is clear that they know that the laws regulating vehicular speed define clearly the maximum speed in all natures of roads specifically national highways. Moreover, nowhere in any such law is provided that in a national or open highway where speed is allowed a maximum of 60 kilometers an hour, can the traffic enforcers automatically change the limit to a much lower speed when it is on a downhill portion of the road. These traffic officers are merely enforcers of the law and not lawmakers. If they think that the speed limit at a downhill stretch needs to be changed because at one time or another the area had become accident-prone, then they have to bring it to the attention of the lawmakers so they would seek to amend the existing laws to satisfy the assumption of the traffic enforcers.

     That is why on that particular day when that unit of traffic enforcers was “gunning” down every motor vehicle speeding downhill at that portion of the diversion highway and insisting that the speed limit there is 30 kilometers an hour, we started mining whatever stocked knowledge we have in our mind.  We were actually hoping that we could recall any instance where the law and other issuances related to traffic were amended or revised by Congress or through Presidential Executive Orders. But we really could not recall.  So we thought that maybe it was only very recently and that we might have missed reading it in the papers, in social media platforms posts, or perhaps we missed seeing and hearing it on television and radio broadcasts.

     We saw on online live social media posts that a member of the group even proudly allowing some media personnel to take a look at the monitor on his speed gun as he was flagging down the hapless drivers who could only scratch their head trying to figure out their infraction. When told by the enforcers that they were overspeeding, all the apprehended drivers could do was to ask, how come? Meanwhile, their driver’s licenses were already confiscated and what they have were the violation tickets.

     Really, we were at a loss then. How come such a group of traffic regulations enforcers missed out on the prescribed speed limit? Are they neophytes who were fielded without undergoing strict briefings on traffic laws, and how its provisions are to be applied? We could not really blame some people especially critics of the regime if they suspect that there are so many in the ranks of our law enforcers who do not even deserve to be in the service because they simply do not know their job. And those people, including that officer who heads the unit, are among them.

     Now the guy has to apologize to the drivers he and his group offended simply because of their ignorance of the provisions of the traffic laws. Maybe they have to look for another job, or simply the agency or agencies that have jurisdiction over them must undertake a series of re-orientation to make them knowledgeable of the various aspects of their responsibilities. It is never too late for such a move if it is intended to change the image of our traffic law enforcers.


     It’s been several local administrations already since we first heard of grandiose plans to save Davao City from potentially disastrous floods the proportion of which are like those calamitous inundations in Luzon almost every year.

     Every after the exit of an administration in the city and of the incumbency of a City Engineer, we have heard of new plans and programs intended to upgrade projects related to preventing the occurrence of floods in the city.  In other words, a newly assumed administration or a new appointee city engineer blames the inadequacy of the plans, programs, and projects of their predecessors as the culprit in the increasing level and magnitude of the floods happening in the city.

     Thus, new programs and projects are crafted and implemented with budgets rising to the maximum chargeable against the taxpayers’ money. Yet, again, floods are getting more frequent and massive in terms of affected areas. The damage is also getting bigger.

     With all the ambitious projects such as putting up more drainage canals lain with much bigger cylindrical or box culverts supposedly to let floodwaters, waste household liquids, and the likes drain much faster, still, an hour or even shorter duration of strong rains is more than enough to submerge the city’ low lying plains.  How come? And what ails?

     Yes, with all the recent flash floods that hit many parts of Davao City maybe it’s time for our planners to revisit all the plans previously crafted.


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