After 5 years, Capitol discontinues ‘yellow ladies’ traffic enforcers

MALAYBALAY CITY (Bukidnon News/08 October) After five years, the provincial government has discontinued the operations of the all-female Provincial Traffic Enforcers deputized by the Land Transportation Office (LTO) citing they have focused more on apprehensions instead of education and alleged violations.

Lawyer Alberto Lagamon, provincial administrator, told this reporter the contracts of the 14 “yellow ladies” were no longer renewed as of October 1. The last contract was renewed from July to September 2013, Lagamon added.

Lagamon said having been deputized by the LTO the yellow ladies had focused on apprehending traffic violators.

“It defeats the purpose of having them, which is to help hasten the traffic flow. Basically to educate the public,” he added.

He said since July the yellow ladies were no longer deputized so they were not allowed to make apprehensions.

He cited that another problem was there were a lot of complaints of alleged irregularities among the traffic enforcers.

The provincial discipline committee, he said, has an ongoing investigation on the allegations although he added “criticisms always confront these types of job”. When the job order of the yellow ladies was renewed in July, administrator Lagamon assumed the task as no one was hired to supervise them.

He cited that Gov. Jose Ma. R. Zubiri Jr. may retain the personnel in the defunct group if they are proven to have committed no irregularities and if they fit available positions in the provincial government.

In 2008, the traffic enforcers were hired in a bid to take away the province’s bad reputation as the country’s “no. 2 highest in highway accident mortality rate.”

Six women enforcers were eyed to be assigned to each of the province’s three congressional districts to monitor violations with the help of police and Land Transportation Office personnel.

Romeo Miguel, then LTO Bukidnon director, said the enforcers will be hired as casual employees but assured that they will be trained well on traffic enforcement. He added that the creation of the provincial traffic enforcers was a timely because its 11 personnel in the province were tied to administrative and regulatory functions.

Picked from a field of 75 applicants, trimmed to 42, and down to 18, the lady enforcers were dispatched for day time shift only. Miguel said they would be equipped with either hand-held radio or cellular phone, as well as patrol vehicles. Some of the yellow ladies were detailed in other offices of the provincial government.

Zubiri initiated the program after several other proposals failed, including a move to deputize personnel from the police and other government agencies.

The enforcement, according to the provincial government then, would concentrate not only on motorcycles, which account for the highest number in vehicular accidents. Enforcement would also focus on non-wearing of helmets, vehicles without early warning devices, delinquent vehicle registrations, and cargo trucks without cover.

In 2009, Arthur Ranque, an LTO official who led the lady traffic enforcers, said drivers and vehicle owners became more conscious about vehicle registration, accessories, road safety, and driver licensing than before, as his office noted an increase in apprehension of violators since the last quarter of 2008.

The spike in the arrests started when the LTO dispatched the traffic enforcers in both north and south Bukidnon. As of the end of March 2009, the women enforcers had apprehended a total of 1,119 violators and impounded 59 vehicles. But they have also become the object of drivers’ anger.

Drivers spoke to this reporter about the alleged arrogance of some of the lady enforcers. But Ranque claimed the women were just trying to be polite and firm at the same time.

“Working to remove Bukidnon from the top of the country’s most accident prone areas is still a big challenge for us,” he said, adding they needed additional logistics support and strategies to go after violators.

Ranque assured that law enforcement “does not discriminate violators” citing cases of apprehended politicians and policemen alike or even their own personnel.

He said some politicians or influential persons lobbied at the Capitol for exemption or to tell the governor that the “Yellow Ladies” should be reprimanded for alleged arrogance but nobody was exempt from the law. The governor was fair about it,” he said.

Ranque cited difficulties in the implementation, among them, the threats received by “Yellow Ladies’” that they would be shot or harmed along the way.

Ranque said they have conducted orientation seminars for violators. As the likely consequence, he added, the ratio of motor vehicle registration violators to the total number of violators of various traffic regulations has decreased from 38 percent to 20 percent from January to March 2009.

He also said that revenues derived from the enforcement of traffic laws have increased.

For the first quarter of 2009, LTP-PGO earned P704,142 in law enforcement revenue. For the last quarter of 2008, LTO collected a total of P1.137 million for law enforcement revenues.

The province gets 7.5 percent of the Motor Vehicle User’s Charge (MVUC) collected in the province in forms of infrastructure funding.

But Lagamon said because they were deputized, they have focused more on making apprehensions, rather than public education.  Lagamon said his proposal was to keep the qualified personnel under the Civil Security Unit, to focus on traffic education.(Walter I. Balane / Bukidnon News.Net)