DILG-6 mulls convo with city gov’t over traffic aide row

DG file photo

By Joseph B.A. Marzan

The Department of the Interior and Local Government-Region 6 (DILG-6) is open to meeting with the Iloilo City Government soon to clear out the air over conflicts on the issue of confiscation of driver’s licenses of traffic violators, one of its officials said on Tuesday.

DILG-6 legal counsel Junine Wednesday Java told Aksyon Radyo Iloilo that they are still waiting for the DILG-Iloilo City office’s report on Mayor Jerry Treñas’ position on the rule that only personnel deputized by the Land Transportation Office (LTO) can seize licenses of erring drivers.

Java said they recognize that Iloilo City, as a local government unit (LGU), can come up with its own ordinances, but it must also recognize national policies.

“We always respect the discretion of the LGUs to come up with their ordinances. It is always within their wisdom that their intention is for the benefit of their constituents. But of course, as much as possible, LGUs are being encouraged to comply with national policies to avoid situations where constituents are confused as to what policies will be followed,” Java said.

She said that the report from their Iloilo City field office will become their basis with the city government to hammer out the confusion.

“If we’ve received a proper report from the field, or if they are seeking our guidance, then we are always open to provide them with the same. If it’s beyond our power at [the DILG-6], we can always forward it to the central office for proper guidance,” she said.

“We are not empowered to compel LGUs to change their ordinances and local policies, at the same time we don’t have power like the court to tell [LGUs] to stop the implementation of their ordinances, but of course, as much as possible, we encourage them to comply [with] national guidance,” she added.

DILG Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. issued on Sept. 14, 2022 a memorandum reiterating its joint memorandum circular with the then-Department of Transportation and Communications in 2008.

Section 3.4 of Joint Memorandum Circular No. 001 s. 2008 states that LGUs may issue traffic citation tickets but only the LTO and their deputized agents can confiscate drivers’ licenses.

Treñas has somehow disregarded the memorandum multiple times over the past couple of weeks, citing the Regional Trial Court’s 2017 upholding of City Regulation Ordinance (CRO) No. 338, which mandates the city’s power to confiscate licenses of erring drivers.

The city government has resumed confiscation of licenses on Monday, October 3, but only from drivers who violated city traffic ordinances.

Treñas has likewise cited Republic Act No. 7160 (Local Government Code of 1991, as amended) as his basis for the implementation of the ordinance.

City Councilor Sedfrey Cabaluna, chairperson of the Iloilo City Council’s transportation committee said over the weekend that they have begun reviewing CRO No. 338 as to its alignment with national policies.

Java said that LGUs are still being given time to review their existing traffic ordinances and respond with proper action on whether they should amend or repeal their said ordinances.

Aside from Iloilo City, there haven’t been any complaints from other LGUs in Western Visayas over the compliance of this said DILG memorandum, Java said.