MANILA, Philippines – Acknowledging the “notoriety” of his city’s traffic enforcers, Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto announced a program to professionalize the Traffic and Parking Management Office (TPMO), even as he cracks down on errant officers.
“Alam nating lahat kung gaano ka-notorious ang mga Pasig TPMO o 'Blue Boys.’ Aminin natin na marami pa rin sa kanila ang tiwali o kulang sa kasanayan (We all know how notorious the Pasig TPMO or ‘Blue Boys’ are. Let’s admit that many of them are still corrupt or inexperienced),” Sotto said in a post on his official Facebook page.
However, Sotto also acknowledged that most of the “Blue Boys” are under temporary contracts and severely underpaid.
He said the city government will begin a "Continuing Professional Development Program” for TPMO officers on Wednesday, July 31, which will include courses on traffic rules and regulations, and how to properly interact with motorists.
Officers who perform well in the next few months will be considered for permanent contracts, Sotto said.
“Sa kabilang dako, sa mga mananatiling pasaway, lalong-lalo na sa mga nangongotong (On the other hand, to those who continue to misbehave, especially those who extort money) – #goodbye,” the Mayor warned, adding that 6 enforcers already faced administrative complaints and two others were arrested by the police.
On Friday, July 26, TPMO enforcers Emmanuel de Guzman and Christopher Punzalan flagged down a public utility vehicle in Barangay Sta Lucia, Pasig City.
The enforcers confiscated the vehicle’s documents and demanded that the driver, Rey Macawile, return to the spot after dropping off his passengers and then pay P1,000 to retrieve the documents.
The enforcers did not issue a violation ticket.
Macawile alerted the police, who later caught De Guzman and Punzalan in the act of receiving money from Macawile.
The two enforcers had been detained at the Pasig City Police headquarters.
Sotto had his eyes on the TPMO early on since taking over as mayor on July 1. During his third flag ceremony address on July 15, he warned its officers to “straighten up” or face sanctions and dismissal.
In the same Facebook post, Sotto said he gathered the TPMO officers on duty after the flag ceremony last Monday, July 29, to again warn them to abide by the law, and promise them a way to secure their tenure. – Rappler.com
JC Gotinga often reports about the West Philippine Sea, the communist insurgency, and terrorism as he covers national defense and security for Rappler. He enjoys telling stories about his hometown, Pasig City. JC has worked with Al Jazeera, CNN Philippines, News5, and CBN Asia.