Makati traffic enforcers swap yellow uniforms for ‘Mayora blue’
Makati City’s traffic enforcers are trading their yellow uniforms for “Mayora blue.”
Starting June 1, which is also the city’s 348th founding anniversary, members of Makati’s Public Safety Department (PSD)—previously known as Mapsa or Makati Public Safety Department—will be sporting blue and gray uniforms.
Blue is the trademark color of Mayor Abby Binay.
Break from corruption
“More than just a change [of] uniform, it will be a move to change the image of the PSD,” said Enrico Bautista, newly appointed PSD chief. “We will make sure that corruption won’t be [linked to] the name of this office.”
The Makati government has allotted P5.8 million for the new uniforms, according to city legal officer Michael Arthur Camiña.
He said the move was part of Binay’s continuing program to “professionalize” the PSD, adding: “With the revitalization of the PSD, a new look would help showcase this.”
Longtime PSD administrative officer Renato Mabasa also welcomed the change, but said: “It’s just [a] uniform; what matters is our performance.”
Bautista said the PSD wanted to veer away from the bad reputation of Mapsa which was created in 1987 during the time of Binay’s father, Jejomar Binay, who was Makati mayor for several terms before he was elected Vice President.
In September, PSD traffic constable Rommel Oliveros was shot dead in broad daylight while on duty on Osmeña Highway. Before the motorcycle-riding gunmen escaped, they left a note on his body which read: “Extortionist Mapsa men, more will be killed!!! Do not emulate this man!!!”
According to Florentino Rendon, investigator of PSD’s internal affairs unit, Oliveros and the two other traffic constables who were on duty with him had no bad record.
Last year, the PSD received at least 20 complaints against its personnel.
Mabasa admitted that there were “a few” engaged in illegal activities but they had been dismissed or suspended after an investigation.
Measly monthly pay
According to him, the low salary received by PSD personnel was one of the reasons some engage in illegal activities. A newly hired traffic aide receives a minimum monthly pay of around P12,000.
“The high-rollers crossing Makati roads think lowly of PSD men because we lack education and training. For them, bribing us can easily get them out of [trouble],” Mabasa lamented.
In her speech last week to PSD employees, Binay assured them of full support and vowed to push for the granting of hazard pay, among other incentives.
To prevent corruption among its men, the PSD bought in March 180 body cameras worth P20.95 million from British security firm Digital Barriers.
Footage taken by the body cameras, which could operate for up to eight hours, would be monitored in real time in the PSD office.
Bautista said the body cameras would “provide transparency” in the field and ensure that “no transactions could take place between traffic constables and drivers.”
PSD personnel will also be required to attend refresher courses on capability enhancement and leadership to “instill integrity and excellence” in them.
Early retirement package
As part of the structure overhaul, Bautista said they were offering an early retirement package to elderly personnel, particularly those aged 60 and above. The average age of PSD workers is 40.
“It’s for their occupational safety. Our work at PSD is not for those who are sickly. We are exposed to pollution, accidents and extreme heat in the field,” he explained.
Workers who opt for early retirement may refer a younger family member to take their place.
The PSD intends to hire 1,000 more personnel to serve as its auxiliary force.
At present, it has 1,100 employees serving as traffic constables, barangay and police force multipliers and first responders.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.