KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews) – City councilors here have declared as persona non grata the traffic personnel from the Land Transportation Office in Region 12 (LTO-12) and banned them from doing highway operations in the city.
Francis Palmones, former trial court judge who is now councilor, said they based their resolution on the complaints and concerns raised by many drivers and operators of tricycles and passenger vans when LTO 12 personnel conducted traffic operations along the Kidapawan highway two weeks ago.
According to Pal-mones, many of the drivers who were issued temporary operator’s permits (TOPs) for traffic violations sought the help of Vice Mayor Bernardo Piñol, who sits as presiding officer of the Sangguniang Panlungsod.
Palmones said the drivers complained about excessive penalties, the lowest of which was estimated at P10,000.
This is allegedly apart from the so-called, “standard operating procedures,” which they perceived as “protection money.”
Palmones said that instead of the LTO regional office, LTO in Kidapawan, together with the city government’s Traffic Management Unit (TMU), should lead the highway operations.
“We have active TMU personnel here. They are given authority by the city LGU to apprehend traffic violators and issue citation tickets,” he stressed.
Palmones authored the resolution and was amended by councilor Ruby Padilla-Sison who proposed to declare LTO 12 personnel as persona non grata, a Latin expression which means “person not appreciated.”
Sison cited the same concerns raised by a group of van and tricycle drivers and operators in Kidapawan City as basis for her proposal.
The amended resolution was carried by majority of the council members during their regular session on July 13.
Naga Mimbala, Senior Traffic Regulatory Officer (STRO) in Kidapawan City, defended the recent operation of the LTO 12 as part of the information dissemination on the Anti-Distracted Driving Act (ADDA).
“When van drivers were issued TOPs, it was because many of them have no franchise, have expired licenses, and other documents,” said Mimbala in a radio interview on Monday.
“But should the LTO central office finds merit on the resolution passed by the Kidapawan City Sang-gunian, then, we will have no qualms. We will abide by it,” he said. Malu Cadelina Manar / MindaNews