MANILA (PNA)–Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada on Monday or-dered the mass resignation of all 690 traffic enforcers of the Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau (MTPB) after he was swamped with complaints from moto-rists over the traffic per-sonnel’s alleged extortion activities.
“I have received numerous complaints that many MTPB traffic per-sonnel are involved in extortion and other illegal activities. Investigations are ongoing, but I can assure the public that those found criminally and admi-nistratively liable will face the full force of the law,” he said in directing the un-precedented mass termina-tion of the city’s entire traffic force.
“Today, I am issuing an order for all traffic enfor-cers of the Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau to step down and turn in their resignation letters. I want all of them out, with no exception. Tama na. Sobra na. Palitan na (Enough is enough. Change them),” Estrada announced at the Bulwagang Antonio Ville-gas.
While admitting that his order would affect the livelihood of the MTPB personnel and their families, Estrada said he made this difficult decision for “the greatest good” of the majo-rity.
Everyone will start with a clean slate, he said, noting that he was disappointed and outraged by what the MTPB has become over the years, despite his admi-nistration’s initiatives to eliminate corruption and introduce reforms in the city government.
“Hindi ko maaaring isakripisyo ang kapaka-nan ng higit na naka-raraming Manilenyo dahil lamang sa ilang tiwaling traffic enforcer na sumisira sa imahe ng MTPB at maging ng lokal na pamahalaan ng Maynila,” he further said. (“I cannot sacrifice the welfare of the majority of the Manileños just because of these erring traffic en-forcers, who are ruining the image of the MTPB and the city government,” he further said.)
Estrada said he sacked all MTPB personnel to weed out misfits and those with bad records. They may however re-apply, provided they meet the new set of stricter qualification standards that will be formulated by a special selection committee he has formed, he added.
While the MTPB is being reorganized, Estrada has temporarily turned over traffic management opera-tions to the Traffic En-forcement Unit (TEU) of the Manila Police District (MPD), with help from the barangay volunteers and other auxiliary units.
The new MTPB recruits will be trained by MPD director Sr. Supt. Joel Coronel for three weeks, he said.
Meanwhile, Estrada formally launched the Manila “traffic super body”, an inter-agency group composed of city and barangay officials, leaders and representatives of local transport organizations, Parents-Teachers Asso-ciations (PTAs), business groups and other stakehol-ders that will jointly come up with long-term solutions to address the city’s traffic problems.
The mayor has tasked the traffic super body to oversee the strict imple-mentation of traffic rules in the city and come up with doable solutions to help decongest the city’s main thoroughfares.
“Traffic is everybody’s concern — bata man o matanda (young or old). We should come up with a collective effort to address our perennial traffic problems,” he said, adding that the composite team will go around the city to look for traffic-prone areas, mount traffic management operations, including road clearing, and apprehend traffic violators, both motorists and pedestrians.
The traffic super body is composed of elements of the MPD-TEU, Depart-ment of Public Services (DPS), Manila Tricycle Regulatory Office, Office of the City Engineer, Manila Barangay Bureau, City Treasurer’s Office, and the Manila City Hall Action and Support Assign-ment (MASA), as well as officials and representa-tives of local transport groups, such as the Consolidated Truckers Association, Fejodap, and Pasang Masda; PTAs, city councilors, and barangay officials.
From among the local business sector, port operators International Container Terminal Ser-vices (ICTSI) and Asian Terminals, Inc. (ATI) have also joined.