Police intensify drive vs. sirens

07/03/2010 - CEBU, Philippines - Police Regional Office-7 Director Lani-O Nerez has directed all provincial and city directors in Central Visayas to intensify their operations against the illegal use of sirens locally called as “wang-wang.”

Nerez made the order after receiving a directive from the national headquarters in Camp Crame to intensify their implementation of Presidential Decree 96 in line with President Benigno Simeon Aquino’s order.

PD 96 makes unlawful the use or attachment of sirens, bells, horns, whistles or similar gadgets that emit exceptionally loud or startling sounds, including dome lights and other signaling or flashing devices on motor vehicles and providing certain exceptions thereof.

Nerez ordered his men to confiscate these gadgets or devices seen on all types of vehicles except for those who are authorized to use these.

The PRO-7 Director likewise called on all politicians, government officials, and owners of private vehicles to surrender their sirens to authorities such as to the Land Transportation Office-7, Traffic Group, and Provincial Highway Patrol Team (PHPT), the local office of Highway Patrol Group.

He said they will be coordinating with the LTO in apprehending the violators.

Nerez said that aside from patrol car driven by policemen who are responding to incidents, policemen are not allowed to use sirens for personal purposes or for their private vehicles, even if they are in uniform.

“No one is above the law. Isip naa sa gobyerno, dapat modelo g’yud,” Nerez said.

Vehicles owned by barangays and other LGUs are not also allowed to use such devices.

Chief Insp. Eduardo Mara, chief of PHPT based in Camp Sotero Cabahug, said that they have been active in their campaign against drivers using sirens even before Aquino’s proclamation.

“In fact, for the record, naa na ta’y mga na-turn over sa Camp Crame,” Mara said.

He said they were able to confiscate a siren last year from Joavan Fernandez, the controversial adopted son of Talisay City Mayor Socrates Fernandez.

On September 22 last year, Joavan was arrested for initial violation of using a siren, failing to keep his plate number visible and driving in the opposite lane.

Mara said they just don’t confiscate sirens but also including blinkers and fog lamps or those lights that could blind other drivers.

They have already confiscated 41 fog lamps and a blinker last year. They have also confiscated seven fog lamps in April alone this year.

Mara said they will intensify their operation with Aquino’s directive.

These gadgets is said to impede and confuse traffic, are inconsistent with sound traffic discipline and control on the highways, and in effect constitute a major problem in the maintenance of peace and order.

Mara said they have actually no idea as to where these gadgets are being bought, but he appealed to the traders not to sell out these gadgets to unauthorized drivers.

He said there is no law that regulates the selling of sirens, though the Camp Crame will reportedly push for such regulation.

As stated under PD 96, these gadgets may be attached to and use only on motor vehicles designated for official used by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, National Bureau of Investigation, Land Transportation Office, Police Departments, Fire Departments, and hospital ambulances.

“Any device or gadget installed or mounted on any motor vehicle or otherwise used in violation of this decree shall be subject to immediate confiscation and, in cases of a second and subsequent offenses, the offender shall be prosecuted for violation of this Decree before the military tribunal and, upon conviction thereof, shall suffer the penalty of imprisonment for six months and/or a fine of 600 pesos,” the decree stated.

The certificate of registration of the motor vehicle on which the unauthorized gadget or device is installed, mounted or used shall be cancelled or revoked (Freeman)

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