MANILA, Philippines - A day after President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III announced a policy discouraging the use of sirens, the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Thursday confiscated car blinkers and sirens in Metro Manila.
Chief Superintendent Orlando Mabutas, director of the PNP's Highway Patrol Group (HPG), said a total of 15 blinkers, 8 car sirens and 12 fog lights were confiscated by police as of Thursday morning.
Mabutas said one of the items was seized by policemen from a prosecutor's car. The others were confiscated from high-end private vehicles.
The HPG chief said there will be no sacred cows in the police's renewed drive against the use of blinkers and sirens based on President Aquino's directive.
Mabutas said even the HPG cars with blinkers and sirens have been ordered "back to barracks" pending a clarification from the Land Transportation Office (LTO) on how to implement President Aquino's order.
He said the PNP is currently clarifying with the LTO on how to implement Presidential Decree 96, which says only motor vehicles designated for the use of the Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, National Bureau of Investigation, Land Transportation Office, Bureau of Fire Protection, and hospital ambulances can be fitted with sirens, bells, horns or similar gadgets.
As for government officials, only the President, Vice President, Senate president, House Speaker, and Chief Justice are allowed to use vehicles with these devices.
In his inaugural address, President Aquino expressed his disgust over public officials who use their "wang-wang" (blaring sirens) to squeeze through heavy traffic.
"Kayo ba ay nagtiis na sa trapiko para lamang masingitan ng isang naghahari-hariang de-wangwang sa kalsada? Ako rin," he said.
President Aquino invited applause from the crowd in front of the Quirino Grandstand when he said: "Walang wang-wang, walang counterflow, walang tong. Panahon na upang tayo ay muling magkawanggawa."
To set an example, President Aquino's security convoy quietly cruised from his Times Street residence to Malacañang without using sirens on Wednesday.
On Thursday, President Aquino's convoy repeated the same routine. The convoy even stopped on red lights while on its way to the Palace. -- Report from Gus Abelgas, ABS-CBN News