Dominador Awiten .
THE regional management of Land Transportation Office 10 was in Panaon, Misamis Occidental last April 25-26 on the long overdue invitation of Municipal Mayor Francisco Pailaga for the deputation seminar of their municipal traffic law enforcement personnel. On hand were the LTO District Heads of Oroquieta and Ozamiz Cities. After the lectures, the LTO Regional Law Enforcement Team led in the practicum law enforcement activity that resulted in a substantial number of “apprehensions,” all of which were only done with “practice apprehension form,” not submitted for official adjudication, but to serve only as training record.
Hizzoner said that law and order is integral to his being the municipality’s chief executive, proudly asserting that during his administration Panaon is consistently cited as excellent in the maintenance of the peace. He may justifiably boast of the fact that no person would dare challenge the local police’s unabated campaign against illegal possession of firearms and explosives.
In his previous stint as Provincial Vice Governor, Pailaga’s singular achievement was in the promotion of traffic safety through the Provincial Traffic Law Enforcement Team (called “Roadsters”). Misamis Occidental was a model LGU in road safety, one of their best practices was the placement of “reflectorized” white sticks lined up in the public highway of the province as guide for road users in the darkness of the evening when there were yet not enough lamp posts. Sadly, the sticks are gone, uprooted perhaps by ignorant or exploitative persons who were clueless of their important function to provide visual guidance to drivers and pedestrians at night time.
LTO Regional Director Nelson S. Manaloto welcomed the invitation of the Panaon LGU, citing the active partnership to be in accordance with the policy for teamwork and the whole-of-the-nation approach in the promotion of the public welfare.
The law so commands that traffic law enforcement is a local government duty, enabled by the national government through deputation.
Such active partnership is salient in the month of May which is dedicated to Road Safety.
On May 15, the LTO schedules a Road Safety Activity at the Atrium in Limketkai Commercial Center, in this city, and the lectures and discussions will have the youth and students as participants.
The advocacy for road safety has hewed closely with the hornbook principles, particularly the embedding of road safety education in the school curriculum.
The senior members of our community may remember that our primary school training necessarily included the understanding and practice of safety on the road principles, particularly the habit and skill called “Stop, Look and Listen.”
In common law, which is adopted as part of our own legal system under the Constitutional provision of incorporation, the State acts as the parens patriae, the parent of the nation. More so is the parental duty pronounced as in the care of the children and those who are at a disadvantage.
In the past, the State is assigned mainly with the constituent functions or those that “constitute the very bonds of society and are compulsory in nature,” as distinguished from those that are termed as ministrant which are “undertaken only by way of advancing the general interest of society,” and are considered optional. (Bacani v. National Coconut Corporation, 1956, and reiterated in Social Security System Employees Association v. Hon. Judge E. Soriano,1963).
Later, such distinction was de-emphasized in the case of ACCFA v. CUGCO (1969) which held that “The growing complexities of modern society have rendered the traditional classification quite unrealistic, not to say obsolete.” This is so especially because of the Constitutional policy to promote, among others, social justice.
Social justice was delineated by Justice Jose P. Laurel in the case of Calalang v. Williams (1940) as “neither communism, nor despotism, nor atomism, nor anarchy, but the humanization of laws and the equalization of social and economic forces by the State so that justice in its rational and objectively secular conception may at least be approximated.”
That case was about the complaint against a traffic regulation that prohibits animal-drawn vehicles from passing on certain streets at certain hours of the day. The measure was held to be a valid exercise of police power, or the power of the State to promote, by regulation, the public welfare.