After motorist shoots traffic enforcer, MMDA considers reviewing proposal to arm traffic enforcers

"The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has started considering arming its traffic enforcers to protect them from abusive motorists after one of its men was shot by a 30-year-old driver whom he accosted for a traffic violation in Mandaluyong City on Wednesday afternoon," reports Inquirer.net.

Edward John Gonzales, the motorist who shot an MMDA traffic enforcer, is charged with frustrated murder and direct assault.

 

"The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has started considering arming its traffic enforcers to protect them from abusive motorists after one of its men was shot by a 30-year-old driver whom he accosted for a traffic violation in Mandaluyong City on Wednesday afternoon," reports Inquirer.net.

 

MMDA traffic enforcer Larry Fiala was shot by Edward John Gonzalez, a motorist he had apprehended for a traffic violation just this Wednesday, September 7.

 

Inquirer.net revealed that Fiala flagged down the Gonzales, who was driving a black Nissan Frontier pick-up (WMD 505) in Edsa, Cubao, for violating the number coding scheme. However, Gonzalez allegedly got irked, punched him in the face, and then sped away. Fiala, on his motorcycle, went after Gonzalez until he caught up with him near Connecticut Street. The two reportedly started arguing. According to a witness, at the height of the argument, Gonzalez went back inside his vehicle and came out with a gun. He then shot Fiala five times. A taxi driver brought the wounded traffic enforcer to the hospital. Fiala is still at the Victor R. Potenciano Medical Center in Mandaluyong City.

 

Hours after the incident, Gonzalez was arrested in his house in Makati City by the Philippine National Police Highway Patrol Group. He was then turned him over to the Mandaluyong police. Gonzalez faces frustrated murder and direct assault charges at the Mandaluyong City Prosecutor's Office.

 

In the wake of the incident, the Inquirer.net article quoted Tina Velasco, MMDA spokesperson and assistant general manager for planning, whop said that "MMDA Chair Francis Tolentino has asked for a review of his predecessor's proposal to arm traffic enforcers."

 

"He wants to revisit that proposal. But if ever it pushes through, only a few traffic enforcers will be trained and armed as part of our public safety mandate," Velasco explained. "We don't want the public to say that we're overreacting. But, of course, we must also protect our enforcers and take into consideration their welfare and the risks they face as they perform their duties."

 

Former MMDA Chair Bayani Fernando had made a similar proposal in the past to protect traffic enforcers from abusive motorists who had threatened them with lead pipes and guns. However, Fernando’s proposal was "met with criticism."

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Velasco likewise added that the MMDA was considering the revival of the buddy system among traffic enforcers "so [that they would] always be with a partner to watch their back."

 

For more on this story,  log on to Inquirer.net.

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