Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Last Sunday, an SUV bearing an '8' plate rammed and killed a security guard while seriously injuring another near Trinoma mall. However, the owner seems to have illegally obtained the protocol plate as he/she is not a member of Congress. In fact, there was even an attempt to hide the protocol plate when the car was brought to the police station. Fortunately, news cameras recorded the plate before it was removed. See the article here.

Seems like this incident has highlighted the problems that the use of protocol plates have spawned ever since its inception. From the illegal use of the protocol plates by congressmen's (or women's) families, the rampant availability of "fake" protocol plates, and the penchant of those using protocol plates to ignore traffic rules and regulations. Also, it seems that Congress has successfully lobbied to have the name of the district removed from the protocol plate, supposedly to hide their identities from "unsavory" elements. Unfortunately, this has led to the increase in fake plates and the use of such plates in terrorist acts such as the bombing of the Batasan building last year.

Anyway, I hope that the government, be it the LTO, MMDA, PNP, local government, Congress, whoever or whichever, and ALL public officials, learn from this. First, stricter controls on the issuance and use of protocol plates (or even their removal, as proposed on House Bill 2346/Senate Bill 1141) are definitely needed. Second, enforcement of traffic rules and regulations should cover ALL motorists regardless of the type of plates they use (be it green, yellow, blue or red, single digit or the three letter/three digit variety). Third, to all public officials, mahiya naman kayo sa mga mamamayan. You are supposed to be employees of the people and have been chosen to lead us to a better nation. So, please, start leading by example and stop abusing the trust that has been placed upon you.

P.S. Sana naman, this extends to the apprehension of those who have illegally installed blinkers and sirens on their vehicles, as well as those using those LTO, PNO, Congress, etc., stickers.