No 'wang-wang' policy irks VP Binay


Posted at Jun 30 2010 07:04 PM | Updated as of Jul 01 2010 10:02 PM

MANILA, Philippines - It seems President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III and Vice-President Jejomar Binay do not see completely eye-to-eye on the use of blaring sirens or "wang-wangs."

In an interview, Binay said public officials should not be totally banned from using sirens to squeeze their way out of heavy traffic.

As a former local chief executive, he said he normally uses blaring sirens to be able to immediately respond to an emergency.

"It depends on the situation. Ako sa pagka-mayor ko 'pag may nagbarilan, may na-hostage, kailangan makarating nang maaga (As a mayor, I need to immediately respond to shootouts, hostage-taking incidents)," he told radio dzMM.

He said what’s bad is the use of blaring sirens to avoid being late to an appointment or just to show off.

In his inaugural address Wednesday, Aquino vowed he will not use blaring sirens that are sometimes used by public officials to counterflow traffic.

Under Presidential Decree 96, 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.

Newly installed Justice Secretary Leila de Lima urged the public to report offenders of the presidential decree. She praised the new President for setting an example for public officials.

"Bad habits have to be cut down. It's a matter of implementing the law...which has a very exclusive enumeration of the officials that can use sirens," she said.

Aquino speech 'presidential'

Reacting to the other parts of the inaugural address, Binay said Aquino sounded "presidential" and that he was able to set the parameters of his platform of government.

The outgoing Makati City mayor said Filipinos should heed Aquino's call for help. He said he will also help Aquino by closely coordinating with the branches of government.

Binay said that as of this time, nothing will make him change his decision not to accept any offer from Aquino to join his Cabinet.

"Let's just talk about it some other time. President Aquino and I have agreed that he will just let me do my job as vice president," he said.

Binay initially turned down Aquino's offer during their meeting at the president's residence on Times Street in Quezon City last week.

The vice president has clarified that he did not ask Aquino to appoint him to the Department of the Interior and Local Governments (DILG).

Meanwhile, Binay said that he will concentrate on improving the local government's role in improving the country's economy during his 6-year term.

The vice president said he will hold office at the PNB Building on Roxas Boulevard, the same building occupied by his predecessor, Vice President Noli de Castro.