New traffic chief of Manila to retrain, reorient personnel; 7 men fired for extortion
MANILA — The newly installed Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau (MTPB) chief on Tuesday promised to have his personnel retrained and reoriented on their duties following reports of extortion among the city’s traffic enforcers, two of whom were caught on camera.
Benjamin Feliciano Jr., who took up the post of MTPB director on Feb. 12, said he has met with his staff of around 800 at least three times and told them to get rid of their “bad habits,” such as extortion.
Two MTPB personnel—Miller Cadampog, a job-order employee since 2007, and Nicolas Arriola, trainee/volunteer who joined just last year—were recently seen on a video taking money from motorists whom they apprehended on Claro M. Recto Avenue. The video was aired on national television Thursday.
Feliciano summoned the two on Monday but only Cadampog, who served as Arriola’s trainer, showed up and admitted to the extortion. “He said he was given P40 by the motorist, which he initially refused, but eventually accepted because the driver insisted,” said Feliciano, who ordered the immediate termination of the both Cadampog and Arriola, following MTPB’s “one-strike policy.”
Since he sat as director, Feliciano said he has conducted surveillance of traffic enforcers especially in areas where reports of extortion have been high. On Monday, five other MTPB personnel were terminated for “money-making-related” offenses.
“In our meetings, I advised [my staff] like a father would his children on how to dress and present themselves physically, how to approach apprehended motorists, how to manage traffic. I’ve also asked them, do you want to feed your families food which you bought with money you didn’t work for?” he said.
Feliciano added that on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 28-29, he required his staff to take written exams to test their knowledge of traffic rules and regulations.
“So far, out of the 140 we’ve checked, 100 have passed. Those who don’t get a passing mark will undergo retraining for, at most, two weeks,” said the retired police officer who was recommended to Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada for the top MTPB position by Chief Insp. Bernabe Irinco, head of Manila Action and Special Assignment (MASA).
New uniforms are also part of Feliciano’s plans to revamp the MTPB, a department of City Hall which he said has earned a “bad reputation because of corruption.”
“We need our traffic enforcers to wear just one color so that people will know automatically who they are. Right now we have three: orange, black, and gray. I have yet to decide what the final uniform color will be,” he said. SFM
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