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Arm MMDA traffic enforcers with bolos if necessary, Bayani Fernando says

Marikina City Representative Bayani Fernando has suggested to arm Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) traffic enforcers with a bolo, or single-edged knife, if needed.

Fernando floated the idea as MMDA traffic czar Bong Nebrija reportedly requested to give their enforcers police power in order to intensify their authority to decongest traffic.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Fernando, himself a former MMDA chief, said it would not be best to give traffic enforcers police power because they "lack the training" for that.

"It might imperil. They don't have the skill to do that," he said.

"In extreme cases, they can [exercise police power] like any individual, especially to protect themselves. Otherwise, it may not be necessary. It might even be bad, it will embolden them. And without restrain, it can lead to more trouble," he added.

Fernando recalled that during his time as mayor of Marikina City, he armed his traffic enforcers with bolos.

"Yung mga bantay ko sa palengke, inarmasan ko ng bolo. Dahil karamihan nung may mga tulak na kariton noong araw, may ice pick, merong knives doon. E mas mahaba yung bolo, e di talo sila," he said.

"Sa record ng Marikina, walang pinaggamitan nung bolo. Pero tumino ang Marikina," he added.

Fernando said the MMDA may also emulate such policy as a way to help solve traffic.

"It would be good to arm them with bolos if necessary. But actually, the same thing as with the police, noong araw ang mga pulis merong batuta. Ngayon wala na e. Pero yung batuta magaling," he said.

"Pero ang impulse ng pulis, kung may batuta, batuta muna ang kukunin. Ngayon walang batuta kaya baril ang nadadampot agad," he added.

For his part, Ako Bicol party-list Representative Alfredo Garbin said the perennial traffic in Metro Manila should not be blamed for the lack of police power of MMDA enforcers.

"Kung hindi mag rerespeto ang mga motorista sa MMDA traffic enforcers at lumalabag ito sa traffic rules dapat hulihin at isyuhan ng citation ticket. Sana huwag na isisi sa kakulangan ng police power," he said in a separate statement on Thursday.

"Sapat na ang kanilang administrative power sa pagpatupad ng lahat sa traffic enforcement operations. The MMDA may install and administer a single ticketing system," he added. — RSJ, GMA News