Sirens, ‘8’ plates ban backed: No one should be above traffic crisis

By Zaldy De Layola

April 15, 2024, 9:33 pm

<p><em>(PNA photo by Ben Briones) </em></p>

(PNA photo by Ben Briones) 

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s “no wang-wang” (sirens) policy and Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez’s “8” protocol plates prohibition provide motorists with a level of playing field amid the crippling traffic situation, particularly in Metro Manila.

Cagayan De Oro City 2nd District Rep. Rufus Rodriguez on Monday said the use of sirens and police escorts “are a symbol of entitlement of power and privileges, which our people frown upon and do not accept.”

“Let us have a level playing field in suffering the terrible traffic situation. All officials must go early to their appointments taking into account the traffic. No one should be above the traffic crisis,” Rodriguez said in a statement.

He said the people regard public officials who flaunt their position, power and influence as arrogant and they should not be emulated.

Public officials, he added, should heed the admonition in the Code of Conduct for Public Officials and Employees that they should, at all times, be accountable to the people and “shall discharge their duties with utmost responsibility, integrity, competence, and loyalty, act with patriotism and justice, lead modest lives, and uphold public interest over personal interest.”

“We are not leading or living modest lives if we demand that we should be entitled to certain privileges as public servants,” he said.

Rodriguez proposed that only the President, Vice President, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court can use protocol plates.

He said other members of Congress, Cabinet members and other officials should use regular plates.

“I have never used No. 8 since I became a congressman in 2007. I could not understand why many officials, including undersecretaries, judges and prosecutors, are using low-numbered plates,” Rodriguez said.

In an advisory to House members, Romualdez said “in view of the issuance by the President of Executive Order (EO) No. 56 last March 25, we are not authorized to use the protocol ‘8’ plates.”

He said the House would coordinate with the Land Transportation Office and the Metro Manila Development Authority on the use of protocol plates once the rules implementing EO 56 are issued.

Under the President’s Order, those allowed to use low-numbered plates are the President, Vice President, Senate president, Speaker, chief justice and associate justices of the Supreme Court, Cabinet members, senators, House members, presiding justice of the Court of Appeals, Court of Tax Appeals and Sandiganbayan, solicitor general, chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police chief, Ombudsman, and chairpersons of constitutional commissions. (PNA)