How to deal with abusive MMDA officers

James Ryan Jonas

If you chanced upon some corrupt or abusive officers of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), don’t feel helpless. There is something you can do.
Here are some tips from a forwarded email entitled “What to do about abusive MMDA officers.” The email started circulating in December last year but the things mentioned here are useful even at this time.
Manila Standard columnist Bong Austero confirmed that the author of the email indeed interviewed Mr. Antonio Pagulayan, MMDA Personnel Officer, and that the advice given here is legal and valid.
If you’re a driver and usually chance upon some abusive MMDA officers, here’s for you.
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I just reached my limit last weekend, and decided to take action against the abusive MMDA enforcers. I basically called up the MMDA head office and inquired from the personnel officer, Antonio Pagulayan, to clarify their policies. Here is what I got.
If any of these abuses seem familiar to you, Mr. Pagulayan has asked that you call either the MMDA hotline (136) or call the METRO BASE at 0920-938-9861 or 0920-938-9875 and ask for an inspectorate. They will send inspectors to the place where these MMDA officers are extorting, even while you are arguing out of your apprehension.

  1. MMDA officers are not allowed to group together in order to apprehend. They are not even allowed to stand together in groups of two or more. The only time they are allowed to work together is for special operations (probably when they apprehend groups of buses for smoke belching).
  2. Swerving IS NOT a traffic violation. Moving one lane to the left or right is not swerving, no matter where on the road you do it. And it is even less of a violation when you do it with a signal. Swerving is defined as shifting two or more lanes very quickly. So you can argue your way out of this, and call the Metro Base for help.
  3. Sadly, using the yellow lane is a traffic violation and will get you a ticket. However, buses are really not allowed to go out of the yellow lane, so if you see selective apprehension of private cars only, you may complain.
  4. MMDA has confirmed that YOUR LICENSE MAY NOT BE CONFISCATED at a traffic apprehension. The only time they can do so is if you are part of an accident, or it is your third violation and you have not settled your fines yet. They are only allowed to give you a ticket, which you can contest. He recommends actually receiving the ticket in some instances, so that you can report the officer who did it.
  5. Also, you are free to ask any of these officers for their “mission order,” which is written by their supervisor. If they apprehend you for a violation that is not in their mission order for the day, you can report them and they will receive disciplinary action.”
James Ryan Jonas teaches business management, investments, and entrepreneurship at the University of the Philippines (UP). He is also the Executive Director of UP Provident Fund Inc., managing and investing P3.2 Billion ($56.4 Million) worth of retirement funds on behalf of thousands of UP employees.