The effective enforcement of speed limits can be achieved with the support from local government units, an official of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said on Thursday.

“Imagine we have 1,600 LGUs all over the country and Land Transportation Office (LTO) has only 1,500 enforcers. Less than one per municipality kung co-computin natin (if we calculate it). So, we really lack enforcers so we will need the support of the LGUs to make this a sustainable policy, that we will have speed limits along our LGUs,” Undersecretary for road transport and infrastructure Mark Richmund de Leon said.

Land and Transportation Office assistant secretary Edgar Galvante said they are tasked to train LGUs on proper enforcement of road speed limits.

“As far as the LTO is concerned, we are beefing up the enforcement of the agents but kulang nga yung tao ng LTO (the LTO’s manpower is lacking). That’s why through the help of law enforcement agents of the localities, we conduct training so that they can be made deputies of LTO,” Galvante said.

Lawyer Sophia Monica San Luis, executive director of ImagineLaw, private partner of the government in crafting and implementing Joint Memorandum Circular 2018-001, said they have so far trained 300 LGUs on the proper enforcement of speed limits with 1,300 more to go within the next three years.

The JMC aims to prevent road crashes caused by speeding through setting up speed limits on all roads nationwide.

“In the last year, we’ve had 10 LGUs enact speed limit ordinances and hopefully, we can scale that further with the help of the media so that the LGUs know they are mandated by RA (Republic Act) 4136 to set speed limits,” San Luis said.

Even before the JMC was crafted and implemented, she said some LGUs have already been successful in enforcing speed limits on roads within their jurisdiction.

“There are pockets in the country that have been enforcing speed limits. And one of the most famous examples would be Davao City wherein they effectively implemented their speed limits in the city reducing the number of fatal crashes by 60% just in the first year of implementation,” San Luis said.

Aside from manpower support, de Leon said most of the funding for equipment such as speed guns would come from the LGUs as well.

“When you have an ordinance, of course you will equip yourselves, the LGUs, with the appropriate devices. So that ordinance will allow the LGUs to procure speed limit guns and kung ano pa ang (any other) devices to help them enforce those speed limit ordinances,” de Leon said.

Equipment to be used by the LTO to enforce the JMC are currently under consideration by the office.

“We initiated the procurement of this equipment although medyo pricey ito (it’s a little pricey), we understand the equipment being used by NLEX is about PHP1 million apiece. We’re looking for a cheaper model for this for the purpose of really rating the speed of vehicles plying the different streets,” Galvante said.

ImagineLaw’s executive said one roadblock they are trying to get past in the implementation of the JMC is educating LGUs on the process of creating ordinances on speed limits.

“The LGUs did not know that they were supposed to classify roads in order to set the speed limits. Ano ba yung mga classification natin (What are our classifications)? We have open roads, through streets, crowded streets, city or municipal roads,” San Luis said.

Under Republic Act 4136, open roads will have a speed limit set for light vehicles at 80 kilometers per hour (kph) with heavy vehicles limited to 50 kph, through streets limit light vehicles to 40 kph and heavy vehicles at 30 kph, and crowded streets limit all kinds of motorized traffic to only 20 kph.

In case an LGU fails to implement road speed limits based on the JMC, San Luis said the JMC does not provide for LGUs to be sanctioned or forced to implement road speed limits as it is unconstitutional.

“The unfortunate thing is that under the constitution, our local governments enjoy independence from the national government with respect to ordinances. So hindi po natin sila mapipilit na mag-enact ng ordinance (We won’t be able to force them to enact an ordinance),” she said.

However, LGUs remain accountable to the voting public.

“The only way to really hold them accountable for what they’re supposed to do is through elections. So kung mahalaga po sa tao ito, yun po yung ginagawa namin yung mga citizen na sila po yung manawagan sa LGU na magpatupad po ng speed limit ordinance (So if this is important to the people, what we’re doing is to encourage citizens to ask their LGU for a speed limit ordinance),” San Luis said.

Dahan Dahan Sa Daan

A fast and convenient way to encourage Filipinos to know more about their local speed limits and ask their politicians for a speed limit ordinance is through a website to be launched in September dubbed ‘Dahan Dahan sa Daan (Slow on roads)’.

“In September, we will be launching a website called ‘Dahan Dahan sa Daan’ website wherein we will be uploading all the speed limit ordinances that will be enacted in the Philippines. All the LGUs will have a tag,” San Luis said.

“If you click on the tag, you’ll be able to download a template letter any individual can send to their local government to request for the enactment of speed limits. It also enables the public to send us copies of their speed limit ordinances within their municipality,” she added. (PNA)