No guns for MTPB enforcers | by Sandy Araneta | May 23, 2017

Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada has dismissed the idea of issuing service firearms to members of the Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau.

Estrada believes arming civilian traffic enforcers will create more problems than solutions.

“No, not yet, we will study this first,” Estrada said during a press briefing at City Hall, where he was asked if he is open to the idea of arming MTPB enforcers with sidearms at least.

“We will not just issue [guns]. I will think about it,” Estrada pointed out.

Nevertheless, the mayor said he will consult the matter to Chief Supt. Joel Coronel, director of the Manila Police District.

MTPB chief Dennis Alcoreza is also against arming traffic enforcers.

“It’s not necessary, I think. It takes great responsibility to have a gun. It might even be a problem,” Alcoreza stressed.

“Our traffic enforcers need more rigid training, and of course, they should mentally and emotionally fit to carry a gun,” he said.

There have been few suggestions to arm MTPB enforcers for self-defense amid several incidents where they were harassed by angry and unruly motorists.

While aware that being a traffic enforcer is a hazardous job, Estrada said he sees no need to give them firearms, as it is prone to abuse.

“The MPD, in the first place, is always at hand to protect them,” he said.

Estrada recently fired five MTPB traffic enforcers after being found positive for using illegal drugs.

They were identified as Rommel Santos, 40; Randy Luangco, 28; Marcelo Tinao, 39; John Lennon Dalisay, 27; and Enrico Dalisay, 39.

With the dismissal of the five enforcers, Estrada said MTPB is now “100 percent drug-free.”

The last time arming the civilian traffic enforcers came out was during the term of then Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Francis Tolentino sometime in 2011.

Tolentino had made the proposal after an MMDA traffic enforcer was shot by an irate motorist whom he accosted for a traffic violation in Mandaluyong City.

Tolentino’s predecessor, Bayani Fernando, also suggested arming the traffic enforcers not with guns but jungle bolos.

This idea, however, was shot down after being met with criticisms.