Lacson: Collective Action vs ‘Wang-wang’ Needed to Restore Trust

A collective implementation of the ban on “wang-wang” (vehicle sirens) can be a key to restoring trust not only in government but also among citizens, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson said Monday.

Lacson said it is not only the Philippine National Police but also the private sector that should be responsible for keeping “wang-wang” off the hands – and vehicles – of unauthorized users.

“No one wants to be stuck in traffic while heading for school or work, much less see the so-called privileged few zip past them in cars with wang-wangs blaring. In some cases, the passengers of the vehicles with wang-wang are not even the government officials authorized to use such items. But we can do something about it instead of feeling helpless,” said Lacson, who headed the PNP from 1999 to 2001.

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He said the PNP should remain on the lookout for unauthorized users of “wang-wang,” including ambulances that do not appear to be transporting patients to and from the hospitals. “I just hope the PNP can sometimes randomly flag down such ambulances, especially if they cause traffic build-ups,” he said.

But he also said other agencies like the Department of Trade and Industry can crack down on shops selling “wang-wang,” including car accessory havens like Banaue in Quezon City.

On the other hand, he said alert citizens – and netizens – can get involved by reporting the unauthorized use of the sirens when they see them.

“In this day and age of modern technology, all it takes is a photo or video of the violator for the appropriate authorities to take action. That said, the authorities need not wait for such reports to go viral before acting,” he said.

Under Presidential Decree 96 in 1973, it is unlawful for a vehicle owner to use sirens, bells, horns, whistles or similar gadgets “that produce exceptionally loud or startling sound,” as well as blinkers and “similar signaling or flashing devices.”

Such devices may be used only on motor vehicles designated for official use by the “Armed Forces of the Philippines, National Bureau of Investigation, Land Transportation Commission, Police Departments, Fire Departments, and hospital ambulances,” according to the decree.

The late former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III emphasized this as a policy during his inaugural speech in 2010, while President Rodrigo Duterte said he is maintaining the policy during a speech in 2018.

Lacson recalled that when he headed the PNP, he issued clear instructions to strictly follow the decree.


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