The ugliness of Metro Manila traffic enforcement culture

MMDA, Mapsa, ever heard of these guys?

Ok, I may be speaking only to a small number of people who visit my blog and drives a car around Metro Manila. Nonetheless, I hope the rest will see what I’m up to.

If you drive around the Metro and is caught by these traffic enforcement operatives — those that are not cops, no guns but have tickets, yes MMDA, Mapsa and other local enforcers — who can easily identify their tricks.

When you did a valid — or invalid — offense, they will ask you to stop. Of course, as a respectful citizen, you will stop.

He tells you your offense. Boss, beating the read light ka.

Sometimes, you will argue, sometimes, you’re just so tired to argue about the same old reason knowing that they need only one thing — lagay, pang merienda, bribe — whatever you want to call it.

They’ll tell you the penalties. Sir, baka mabigla kayo, eto po ang babayaran nyo. Dalawa po ang offense nyo — disobeying traffic rules at reckless driving. P2,500 po ang penalty, may seminar pa ‘to. They’ll make you feel how hard it is to go through all the process, not considering the cost of paying the penalties.

They’ll ask for your driver’s license and ask you some irrelevant questions like where do you live or who you with. Kind of like buying time.

Then the punch line. So, anong gagawin natin dito? You heard the cue. That means, do you want to get the ticket or just give them a few hundred bucks? They’ll leave you and go someplace “safe”. If you want to go through the fast route of just handing some bread, you’ll alight your vehicle, crumple the paper and shake his gracious hand. If you’re a hard catch, you’ll wait for the ticket. But that’s after a few minutes of waiting “in the corner”.

* * *

I’ve been caught by these operatives several times — actually, a lot of times. Some are valid, some are not. And I have to admit, I also give bribes. But only under this very specific circumstance: My offense is invalid — I believe I did not do anything wrong, this guy just want to get some snacks out of me — plus I’m in a real hurry. I’ve done that several times and these guys just loooved it!

There are also some few incidents that I admittedly did wrong. I took the offense, never gave in to a hint of an offer of quick fix and just pay the penalties. But this afternoon is different.

* * *

Sunday, this afternoon at 2:00 pm, we just had our lunch after church. We’re going to Pasay from Makati. I took the Makati Cinema Square route. Just before I turn left going to Pasong Tamo, we crossed a traffic light. It says “green”. Just beside the green light was a singular traffic light who-knows-what-color-it-is. Its unlighted. Since the main light is green and the other beside I’m not sure if just broken or not, and because there were really no other vehicles except a taxi and a MAPSA patrol, I decided to take the turn. I was thinking, if that light is just broken, I’m gonna wait here forever.

A few meters after I turned left, the MAPSA signaled me to stop. I did. And he went through the same old, syncronized lets-just-fix-it approach. It’s clear — the guy just want some mooneys. He was charging me for recless driving. Recless driving? It was Sunday, the road is clear, I’m running 10 kmph, and it’s recless driving!? This guy just wanted me to fell the pressure and give in to his tactics. But I wasn’t about to give in. He moved out waiting for me to alight the vehicle. But I wasn’t opening the door. So he decides to just issue me a ticket — for recless driving.

And I’m not paying the fees, too! Tomorrow, I’m going to Makati City Government office and instead of claiming my driver’s license, I’m going to file a complaint. This rotten traffic enforcement culture in Metro Manila has to end. And it has to start somewhere, at least I’ll refuse to become one of their victims.

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  • lynx

    MAPSA sucks as well as the MMDA. Don’t worry I’ve been in your place. Mukhang perang mangongotong lang yang mga gagung yan. I hate those ‘officers’ and I absolutely have no confidence nor trust in them.

    The MMDA as well as the MAPSA should be taken off the road. They make the life of the motorist hard. They try those time-old ‘kotong moves’ and they try their hand at directing traffic when there is actually a traffic light working and they make it longer to commute.

    As of now, corruption even in the lowest level of the government chain is one of the reasons why most people I know want to migrate. God Bless the Philippines! Corruption, corruption and coruption.

  • lynx

    MAPSA sucks as well as the MMDA. Don’t worry I’ve been in your place. Mukhang perang mangongotong lang yang mga gagung yan. I hate those ‘officers’ and I absolutely have no confidence nor trust in them.

    The MMDA as well as the MAPSA should be taken off the road. They make the life of the motorist hard. They try those time-old ‘kotong moves’ and they try their hand at directing traffic when there is actually a traffic light working and they make it longer to commute.

    As of now, corruption even in the lowest level of the government chain is one of the reasons why most people I know want to migrate. God Bless the Philippines! Corruption, corruption and coruption.

  • Jomar Gregorio

    This is really funny!! same exprience in Pasong Tamo, same violation, same tactics of these MAPSA.. same SHIT!! nag left din ako sa kanto na un and it’s gree… I was there for 30 secs to turn left… signaling, waiting for the road to clear, and BAAAM!!! that fuckin MAPSA dude stopped me and start asking for my license, OR/CR… stuffss… same line ng sinabi sayo pare.. so sabi ko sa kanya, “Sir, bakit kayo nakatayo dyan eh di man lang kayo pumito para sabihan ako na dumerecho kasi bawal… naghihintay lang ba kayo dyan? you’re not doing your job instead na magtraffic kayo”… tapos may nahuli pang isa after me, so sabi ko… yan may isa na naman, dapat talga nasa kanto sila at magtraffic don… di yung nagaabang sila ng liliko alam pala nila na madaming napunta don…

  • Jomar Gregorio

    This is really funny!! same exprience in Pasong Tamo, same violation, same tactics of these MAPSA.. same SHIT!! nag left din ako sa kanto na un and it’s gree… I was there for 30 secs to turn left… signaling, waiting for the road to clear, and BAAAM!!! that fuckin MAPSA dude stopped me and start asking for my license, OR/CR… stuffss… same line ng sinabi sayo pare.. so sabi ko sa kanya, “Sir, bakit kayo nakatayo dyan eh di man lang kayo pumito para sabihan ako na dumerecho kasi bawal… naghihintay lang ba kayo dyan? you’re not doing your job instead na magtraffic kayo”… tapos may nahuli pang isa after me, so sabi ko… yan may isa na naman, dapat talga nasa kanto sila at magtraffic don… di yung nagaabang sila ng liliko alam pala nila na madaming napunta don…

  • neo anderson

    yeah same thing happen here i was on my way to work around 2:30 am last 11.27.08 i know my violation i took a right turn on a no right turn lane, guess what they charged me with, freaking “swerving” damn its like the middle of the night no cars or other vehicles then they charged me with that, and they told me that the fine was around 2,oo0 pesos and all the crappy you have to get it here and there and 5 business days its like they’re selling me my own drivers liscence, damn this cop and i called the mapsa hotline its 844-3146 (thanks to google) you can call this number there always a person on the other line 24/7. the mapsa and the police had a really big mistake the ticket was issued to PO3 cabrera, dennis(the police) and the person writing and who signed the ticket was the mapsa. they guy from that number told me that it was a violation the one who should right to the ticket was that freakin fat cop not the his PA the mapsa that was one offense another was they were ofcourse meaning colorum hahaha imagine a cop being on colorum they were of their leaugue they should be along pasong tamo hillpuyat instead of SShway. im really ganna fry their fat ass. the person on that line is really really helpful. i dont wanna disclose his name, but he really helped me. and im ganna fry that fat cop haha

  • neo anderson

    yeah same thing happen here i was on my way to work around 2:30 am last 11.27.08 i know my violation i took a right turn on a no right turn lane, guess what they charged me with, freaking “swerving” damn its like the middle of the night no cars or other vehicles then they charged me with that, and they told me that the fine was around 2,oo0 pesos and all the crappy you have to get it here and there and 5 business days its like they’re selling me my own drivers liscence, damn this cop and i called the mapsa hotline its 844-3146 (thanks to google) you can call this number there always a person on the other line 24/7. the mapsa and the police had a really big mistake the ticket was issued to PO3 cabrera, dennis(the police) and the person writing and who signed the ticket was the mapsa. they guy from that number told me that it was a violation the one who should right to the ticket was that freakin fat cop not the his PA the mapsa that was one offense another was they were ofcourse meaning colorum hahaha imagine a cop being on colorum they were of their leaugue they should be along pasong tamo hillpuyat instead of SShway. im really ganna fry their fat ass. the person on that line is really really helpful. i dont wanna disclose his name, but he really helped me. and im ganna fry that fat cop haha

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