The Metro Manila Development Authority is investigating reports that some of its personnel openly disregards a policy on smoke belching after one of the agency’s marked vehicles was caught spewing thick black smoke on the road.
The MMDA is one of the government offices composing the Inter-Agency Council on Traffic which is presently conducting series of operations against dilapidated and smoke-belching vehicles in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
Last week, a netizen named Moises Meman caught a white MMDA marked vehicle (registration plate SEK-769) emitting black smoke along Kalayaan Avenue going to Epifanio de los Santos Avenue around 3 p.m.
He said the MMDA personnel driving that vehicle clearly violated the provision of the Clean Air Act.
Meman took a video footage of the incident, posted it on his Facebook account, and wrote a message “to call the MMDA administration’s attention and see if they are really sincere in addressing issues like this.”
Celine Pialago, MMDA spokesperson, said the agency is now looking into that incident and in the process of identifying the personnel who drove the vehicle. She added the MMDA also want to know why the vehicle, which is one of the agency’s three shuttle services, was sent out on the road despite it having been “recommended for calibration.”
MMDA assistant general manager for operations Roberto Almadin ordered his men to unmask the driver and other agency personnel responsible on the case, and filed administrative complaints against them.
The MMDA said that it is not an excuse for any agency personnel to use that kind of vehicle even if it was used for emergency purposes.
In June 2017, MMDA chairman Danilo Lim ordered his two traffic enforcers to pay a fine for not wearing helmets while on duty riding a motorcycle along Roxas Boulevard.
Lim directed the enforcers—Armando Lopez and Rodrigo Dayota—to be fined P1,500 each for their brazen violation of road regulations.
“We are enforcers of the traffic laws and we should all comply with them,” he said.
Aside from the fine, Lim also directed the two traffic personnel to undergo traffic management and safety course at the agency’s Traffic Academy.
The MMDA chief confronted Lopez and Dayota about the photo posted on Facebook, showing them in MMDA traffic uniform on a motorbike but not wearing crash helmets.
Aside from dressing down the two men, Lim said the traffic personnel should have been more courteous in replying to the query of the motorist who posted the photo, which later on went viral.
MMDA traffic personnel are authorized to flag down and apprehend violators of the policy of not wearing helmet while riding a motorcycle.
Lim made a promise that he would impose a one strike policy and vowed to dismiss from the service traffic enforcers and other agency employee found to be corrupt, abusive and remiss in their work.
The Commission on Audit reported in 2015 that only a handful of MMDA traffic enforcers are qualified to man and implement traffic rules and regulations on the streets of Metro Manila.
The CoA report further said that more than 2,000 traffic enforcers deployed on the roads in the metropolis have not undergone and passed the required training and examination to perform traffic duties.
But Lim said that the agency has already been addressing issues and concerns raised by CoA in its report since it was furnished in 2015.
Lim said he welcomes anyone to come forward and file a complaint against erring MMDA personnel.
In 2016, a total of MMDA 91 personnel were preventively suspended for various cases while 257 were reprimanded.