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.