DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Davao City is known for its very stringent traffic rules. Through Executive Order 39 signed by then Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on 2013, drivers currently have to stay within the speed limit of 30 kph in downtown areas, 40 kph along roads leading to downtown areas, and 60 kph on national highways.
However, Davao City Police Traffic Group chief Supt. Ernesto Castillo admitted that the city’s traffic enforcement group currently lacks its most basic equipment, leading to difficulties in apprehending speeding drivers or those driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
Upon Castillo’s assumption as chief since June 2016, the traffic group only had two functioning speed guns. During the implementation of the Republic Act 10586 or the Anti Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013, which started last year, the traffic group utilized only one breath analyzer, resulting in low apprehension.
In 2016, the traffic group was able to apprehend 6,947 speed limit violations, a decrease of 55.74 percent from 2015’s 12,462.
Castillo said they currently have no problems regarding the implementation of the Ant-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act, since investigators usually have to establish probable cause for testing for blood alcohol content level. This means that if a driver gets apprehended for violating the speed limit or other traffic infractions, fails three sobriety tests, then that’s the time the enforcer calls for a breath analyzer.
The speed gun however, is a different story.
“Sa speed gun, diyan tayo nagkakaroon ng problema. Hindi natin maimpliment ang [speed limit] kasi limited lang ang area na kayang i-cover. Dapat marami kaming speed gun para maprevent yung mga bangga, car mishap. Prevention din kasi yung speed limit,” Castillo told Davao Today in an interview.
(It’s in the speed gun that we have problems. We can’t implement the speed limit effectively because we can only cover a very limited area. We need more speed guns to prevent collisions and other car mishaps. The speed limit is actually also a preventive measure.)
“In an ideal scenario, we should have at least seven speed guns,” Castillo said.
Two would be used in both sides of the diversion road. Two would be used in both lanes of the roads leading to the southern part of the city, another two to be used in the inner city, and one would be dispatched to wherever there is a noted frequency of speeding motorists.
Castillo also said that at least every police station should have one breath analyzer.
“Kasi ang Davao Traffic Group, malaki ang hawak niya. Kami lang ang merong breath analyzer. Yung ibang station, mga naririnig ko sa radyo may mga involved sa vehicular accident na lasing hindi na nakakaabot sa amin (The traffic group is responsible for a very big area. We are the only ones who have a breath analyzer. Sometimes, I hear over the radio of vehicular accidents where those involved are intoxicated, but we can’t reach them),” Castillo said.
Castillo however, said that increasing the number of apprehensions is not their goal, because that would mean that the public is not learning anything.
“Hindi namin hinahabol na malaki ang apprehension namin. Ang hinahabol namin, na ma-zero namin ang apprehension dahil it means aware na ang mga tao, well educated na (We are not after more apprehensions. We’re striving towards zero apprehension because that would mean that the people are more aware and more educated),” Castillo said.
Currently, the Traffic Group has requested to the city mayor of four more additional speed guns to augment their inventory.
A speed gun currently costs around P75,000 to 80,000. (davaotoday.com)