MANILA — A senior officer of the House of Representatives on Monday said he has filed a bill that seeks to professionalize and institutionalize the traffic enforcement corps in the metropolis which is currently attached to the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA).
Valenzuela City Rep. Sherwin “Win” Gatchalian said in his House Bill 5242 that he seeks to establish the National Traffic Enforcement and Management Center (NTEMC).
He was prompted by the recent incident wherein an MMDA traffic constable had an altercation with the driver of the Masserati Ghilby along Quezon Avenue in Quezon City.
“Traffic enforcers play a vital role in maintaining public order and safety in our roads. A properly trained traffic enforcer coupled with the best practices in the enforcement of traffic laws will ensure a safer road for the public particularly to motorists and pedestrians,” said Gatchalian, a majority member of the House committee for Metro Manila development.
Gatchalian said the creation of the NTEMC will pave the way for the efficient traffic enforcement, which is an essential element of every road safety policy especially in the light of several complaints cropping up against a specific traffic constable.
HB 5242 intends to establish the NTEMC which “shall have the mandate to build capacity of our traffic enforcers by providing them formal trainings and instruction in all the areas of traffic enforcement and management including enforcement, road safety, accident investigation, driver training, post-accident management, and understanding violations.”
The NTEMC shall also be responsible in educating the public about the proper observance of our traffic and road laws and in scientifically researching the causes and consequences of road collisions and accidents as well as preparing effective systems for their analysis in order to provide remedial measures.
“The NTEMC shall be the primary training center for all traffic enforcement personnel in the country and a certification from the center shall be necessary for the deputization of traffic enforcement personnel of local government units,” Gatchalian pointed out.
He stressed that the altercation between traffic constable Jorbe Adriatico and Masserati Ghilby driver Joseph Russel Ingco could have been avoided if all MMDA traffic enforcers are well-trained not only in apprehending violators but also in the manner by which they approach and talk to the traffic violators.
“Knowledge of traffic rules and regulations is not enough. There is such a thing as people skills which every traffic enforcer should learn from a training school like the NTEMC which we would like to establish the soonest,” Gatchalian explained.
The veteran legislator withheld judgment on who was wrong in the Masserati case but he pointed out that the numerous complaints being aired in the media against traffic constable Adriatico should not be swept under the rug by the MMDA as these could be valid complaints by well-meaning motorists.
“What I’m saying is that if there is a National Traffic Enforcement and Management Center, all traffic constables can undergo training here so they can be professional in doing their jobs and in dealing with motorists,” Gatchalian noted.
Another important function of the NTEMC is to undertake road safety audits on highways and road transportation projects and traffic management schemes and to identify road risks and hazards.
“Developing a methodology for teaching road safety education to the public, particularly to primary and tertiary students through the existing academic curriculum and training the public in the basics of traffic laws, driver education and behavior, current status of road environment and enforcement, causes and hazards leading to road accidents shall also be done by the proposed NTEMC,” Gatchalian said.
The proposed NTEMC will be governed by a Board of Trustees composed of the Secretary of Transportation and Communications, as chairperson; and the MMDA Chairman, as co-chairperson. Its members will include the Secretary of the Interior and Local Government, Director General of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), as member and the Director of the National Center for Transportation Studies.
An executive director of the Traffic Center will be appointed by the Board for a fixed term of four years. He will handle the day-to-day operations of the NTEMC.