City looks to sustain ‘anti-muffler ops’

Iloilo City Hall Photo

By Joseph B.A. Marzan

Iloilo City’s transportation management chief said the city’s renewed crackdown on modified mufflers (tambucho) is not going away any time soon, saying that they have been tasked to take on these violators “all-year-round”.

Public Safety and Transportation Management Office (PSTMO) chief Jeck Conlu told Daily Guardian on Air on Friday that they set up two dedicated teams that will watch the city’s major roads every night to sustain their operations.

Modified mufflers that create “excessive and irritating sound” is penalized by City Regulation Ordinance No. 2017-287 via fines and confiscation of licenses, as well as condemnation of the subject mufflers and possible imprisonment on the third offense.

“This was because of many complaints reaching [Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas], and even at his home, they hear [noisy mufflers], that’s why he asked to strengthen and sustain. We created two teams who will be on the roads every night,” said Conlu.

But the operations are not just exclusive to noisy mufflers as enforcers also look at other violations which may be detrimental to road safety, including but not limited to non-wearing of helmets, driving without a valid license, and unregistered vehicles.

The Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) is also part of the operations.

Conlu said they were able to apprehend 40 violators on the first night of operations on Jan 3 and 47 violators on Jan 5.

The team was unable to apprehend violators over the weekend because of the rainy weather.

Conlu shared his observation that most of the persons they apprehended were younger persons, while “90 to 100 percent” of organized rider groups like delivery riders were rarely apprehended for any violation.

“The people we always cite (apprehend) are those younger persons who only go out at night, it is because they really have a violation. It’s either because they make noise using their mufflers on purpose, or they have no license, or they vandalize or do other things unseen between the morning and early evening,” he added.


Conlu also clarified the warning of Treñas against enforcers who were caught “slacking off” while on the job.

Specific procedures had been instituted since the mayor’s publicized statement over the New Year weekend, according to the transport management chief, even as he assured that they will conduct a thorough “motu proprio” investigation on any claims against the enforcers.

The investigation will investigate deployment orders and then compare these with photos and videos to verify if the enforcers are indeed in their areas of assignment or doing their work as traffic managers and enforcers.

Conlu said they have been installing closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in key areas and these are broadcasted to a command center at the ICARE Center at Gaisano Iloilo City Center in Mandurriao district.

“Part of our procedure is to take CCTV [imagery] in the area. We are gradually installing CCTVs across the city through our command center at Gaisano, so if they are captured through picture and video, it would be better. From the photo, we can glean that if they are just standing far behind their area, and there are many vehicles at the intersection where they are assigned, we can see the scenario right then and there,” he explained.

Aside from these, he said that they are still in the process of procuring handheld radios, among other uniforms and equipment, which may be used to call out potentially erring cops.

Conlu said claims against negligent traffic enforcers surfaced due to certain “bad habits” which included abandoning their posts, hiding from plain sight, and deliberately choosing motorists to apprehend, among others.

He said that the mayor simply wanted the city’s traffic cops to “leave [these bad habits] in 2022.”

“What [Treñas] meant was that our priority is traffic management. We would still cite [erring motorists], but we also need to be visible to motorists,” he said.