July 23, 2024

Honestly, the only meaningful legislation that I can remember out of the Noynoy Aquino administration is his “anti-wang-wang” policy.
This was, in fact, part of his campaign propaganda that catapulted him to victory. He was widely appreciated for this. Why not?
No matter how trivial the law seemed to be, it equalized and put into level a wide gap between the rich and the poor by removing a special privilege that not only deprived the latter of their dignity but also their chance to be at par with their wealthier neighbors.
Indeed, removing the wang-wang from the streets was a master stroke worthy of enforcement. Ironically, the popularity of the policy waned and left forgotten with the death of President Noynoy Aquino; until President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. took over.
On March 25, President Marcos issued Administrative Order 18 banning all government officials, regardless of their position or rank, from using sirens, blinkers, and similar devices that are attached to their car(s) or to their escorts, in order to part traffic so that they can gain an advantage or avoid being caught in a congestion in all national and local roads.
The only exception are the official vehicles of the military, police, National Bureau of Investigation, ambulances, fire trucks, and other emergency vehicles.
The revival of the anti-wang-wang policy was seen as a victory by the ordinary commuters who perceive their politicians as being brazen and arrogant each time they flaunt their authority by announcing their presence in busy highways.
The problem is, three months after the enactment of the administrative order, not a single public official has been apprehended much more punished. The privilege continues and even in the heart of Baguio City, several politicians continue to violate the law with impunity.
A few weeks ago, several senators visited the city. When they passed by the Palispis-Aspiras (Marcos) Highway and turned right towards Legarda Road, it was a breeze because they were under escort.
Their escort was quite daunting and intimidating. It consisted of police motorcycles with blinkers. They were pointing and directing ordinary vehicles to stand ground and make way because several VIP’s were going to pass. What gives? Is this not covered by the prohibition under AO 18? Are not the police or the politicians supposed to tow the line as all others because the privilege of using a wang-wang is already outlawed? Who will sanction them?
This is the problem with the law outlawing wang-wang. No matter how noble its intentions are, it is incapable of efficient enforcement. Pray tell me, how many politicians have been admonished for using sirens and blinkers? How many of them were prosecuted? How many of their escorts were censured? In the absence of any statistics validating the effectivity of the anti-wang-wang policy, there is no way for ordinary citizens like us to know whether there is compliance or not.
As seen and experienced, despite the law, AO18 is violated to the hilt. There are those who love feeling important and privileged that they have no qualms in exploiting their power to suppress the law.
After all, they easily get away with it. Who is to police them anyway? You? Me?
There must be a better way to enforce AO 18. Perhaps, if there are implementing rules and regulations that offer a reward on those who will report, it might just work.