PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) chief, General Rodolfo S. Azurin Jr. on Thursday called on the PNP Highway Patrol Group headed by Brigadier Gen. Clifford B. Gairanod to never rest on their laurels and see to it that they will continue their unrelenting drive versus criminals and strictly enforce traffic laws nationwide to keep the streets and the public safe 24/7.
He issued the challenge to the so-called ‘Guardians of the Highways’ amid the unit’s successful enforcement of land transportation laws aimed at keeping the streets safe since July this year.
According to the top cop, the PNP-HPG impounded a total of 16,861 motor vehicles and motorcycles for violation of Republic Act 4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code and other traffic violations over the past four months.
Those subjected to impounding include 3,419 motor vehicles and 13,442 motorbikes.
Gen. Azurin said the PNP-HPG likewise accosted 425 drivers of motor vehicles with unauthorized HPG logo/stickers; 311 drivers with illegal horns; 4,501 for using blinkers/illegal lights; and 743 motorbike drivers with illegally-modified mufflers.
Brig. Gen. Gairanod said the 17 Regional Highway Patrol Units during the period also issued 350,487 traffic ticket/citations and cited 5,980 traffic violators in relation to RA 4136 and other local ordinances.
The PNP-HPG also arrested 222 persons involved in car theft and recovered 209 stolen motor vehicles during the same 4-month period.
“Let us step up and intensify more the enforcement of RA 4136 especially in busy highways in the country, to include areas which have been a regular scene of accidents to ensure road safety and security of general public. Ang aming patuloy na panawagan sa ating mga motorista na maging masunurin sa batas trapiko upang maiwasan ang abala at aksidente sa daan lalo na ngayong darating na kapaskuhan,” Gen. Azurin said.
Citing records from the PNP Directorate for Operations, the top cop said that from July 1 to October 6, 2022, they recorded a total of 409 carnapping incidents or the loss of 78 motor vehicles and 331 motorcycles during the period. Overall, the PNP registered an average of 4 vehicles being stolen per day during the period.
However, the same period also saw the recovery of 164 stolen MVs and 196 stolen motorbikes for an 88 percent PNP recovery efficiency.
Gen. Azurin said that during the period, a total of 342 car and motorcycle theft personalities were arrested by agents of the PNP Highway Patrol Group and other police territorial units while three died in shootouts with police operatives.
He added that 163 cases for violation of Republic Act 10883 or the New Anti-Carnapping Act of 2013 have been filed against the arrested suspects during the 98-day period.
Gen. Azurin commended the PNP-HPG for making a huge impact in their campaign against car theft, hijacking and highway robbery during the period.
The top cop has ordered the PNP-HPG to further intensify their crackdown against car theft, highway robbery and hijackings since the 1st day he was appointed by President Marcos as the 28th PNP chief.
Apart from that, the PNP-HPG has also intensified its enforcement of the country’s traffic code to ensure the safety of motorists and the rest of the general public.
Being the so-called ‘Guardians of the Highway,’ officers of the PNP-HPG are bent on impounding vehicles of erring motorists including those which are blatantly disregarding government rules and regulations.
The accomplishments of the PNP-HPG got the nod of the top cop who congratulated the ‘Guardians of the Highways’ for ensuring that motorists who are violating the traffic code and other rules and regulations will be apprehended to ensure the safety of the general public.
The PNP-HPG is known for impounding hundreds of motor vehicles and motorcycles a week for violation of Republic Act 4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code.
Members of the unit also impound motorcycles for violation of RA 4136 and other traffic ordinances enacted by local government units.
Brig. Gen. Gairanod said that being continuously targeted by his men are drivers of motor vehicles with unauthorized HPG logo/stickers in their windshields; drivers with illegal horns; those using blinkers/illegal lights; and motorbike drivers with modified mufflers.
The PNP-HPG director said he has also ordered a stepped-up enforcement of RA 4136 in busy highways in the country including the Marilaque Road in Rizal province which has been a regular scene of accidents involving so-called ‘Kamote Riders’ performing dangerous motorcycle stunts in the area.
Otherwise known as the Marikina-Infanta Highway, Marilaque Highway is a scenic mountain 117.5-kilomer highway that connects Metro Manila with Rizal, Laguna and Infanta, Quezon. Gairanod said that he has ordered regular HPG patrols in the area to apprehend irresponsible motorcycle drivers.
At the same time, Brig. Gen. Gairanod said he has instructed his men to go all-out in their effort to apprehend unauthorized users of sirens and blinkers. He said that since last August 8, they have already apprehended a number of civilian law enforcers found using sirens and blinkers on their motorcycles while providing unauthorized escort service to their patrons.
He said that he has also turned down request from some local government units and agencies to allow them to use the gadgets since they are not covered by the law.
Under Presidential Decree 96, only marked vehicles of the Presidential Security Group, the PNP, the Armed Forces, fire trucks and hospital ambulances are allowed to use sirens and blinkers.
The President, Vice-President, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court are the only government officials allowed to attach the devices on their official vehicles.
Gen. Azurin said the PNP-HPG is also continuing its investigation of the owner of a Toyota Alphard, a luxury vehicle seen with ‘Pulisya’ markings in its hood and a ‘PNP’ sticker on its front door along Ayala Center in Makati City last November 8.
He said that the PNP-HPG has discovered that the Alphard is registered to a private company whose owners have been asked to explain why they have made it appear that the Alphard is a PNP service vehicle.
Gen. Azurin said they don’t have any Alphard in their list of official vehicles and thus, the owner and driver of the Alphard with the ‘PNP and Pulisya’ markings are violating the law.
The PNP chief said that their service vehicles are mostly Toyota Innova, Toyota Hi-Ace and Toyota Grandia as well as Altis cars. Majority of them were procured by the police force while others were donated by local government units and private organizations supporting the force.
Journal Group sources said that their initial check showed that the Alphard belongs to a private firm involved in online gaming. It is reportedly being used by the wife of a retired ranking former police official whose identity they refused to divulge.
“The owner of the vehicle is fully defying an executive order which prohibits the use of insignias and other accoutrements of the PNP. Maybe, they want to make it appear that it is a PNP service vehicle to avoid being apprehended by traffic enforcers for violation of the odd-even scheme in the metropolis,” one ranking official said.
PNP-HPG and National Capital Region Police Office units have been alerted to apprehend the same vehicle one spotted in Metro Manila.