Magic stoplight? Manila traffic enforcers deny alleged ‘traffic light modus’

June 30, 2020 - 3:00 PM
Abad Santos Ave
Intersection of Abad Santos Avenue and Antipolo St. in the city of Manila in January 2019. (Screengrab from Google Maps)

The Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau recently denied that it is involved in a supposed “modus operandi” involving a faulty stoplight in Manila following a viral video showing the supposed traffic violation scheme.

The agency clarified that it is not authorized to operate the stoplights in the city of Manila and informed the public that stop lights are under the jurisdiction of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

“Para po sa ka-alaman nating lahat. Tungkol po sa kumakalat na video ng isang motorista. Hindi po hawak ng Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau (MTPB) ang mga traffic lights sa Lungsod ng Maynila. Ito po ay na sasakupan ng Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA),” it said on Facebook.

MTPB added that it has already informed the MMDA of the faulty stoplight.

Over the weekend, a dash-cam recording that captured the supposed faulty stoplight, dubbed “magic stoplight,” has been shared on Facebook and Reddit Philippines, and has since became viral.

A Facebook page called “Inside Drivers” credited the video to Christopher Edward Lopez.

In the video, an unidentified disappointed driver showed that his vehicle was seen moving in accordance with the “green light” or “go” signal of the stoplight, which gave the motorists a few seconds before shifting to the “ready” or orange light, a prelude to the “stop” or red light.

However, when the stoplight count turned to the 12-second mark, the green light suddenly turned orange and gave motorists only three seconds to slow down.

The vehicle in the video continued to move forward but three uniformed enforcers flagged it down.

“Bakit po ganoon?” one of the passengers in the video can be heard as saying, pointing out that enforcers were just waiting to apprehend them.

The Facebook page which shared the clip also took note of the stoplight’s abrupt change and captioned: “Bakit kaya ganun? May magic from 12 to 3 secs real quick.”

bkt kaya ganun? May magic from 12 to 3 secs real quick 😅 Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso đŸ˜đŸŽ„Christopher Edward Lopez

Posted by Insane Drivers on Saturday, June 27, 2020


The Reddit user who shared it on the discussion website, meanwhile, tagged the MTPB and claimed it was a “modus operandi.”

The stoplight was determined to be located at the intersection of the Abad Santos Avenue and Antipolo Street in Manila.

MTPB in its Facebook post responded to the online complaints and said that the video was not complete.

It added that it is not confirmed whether the driver received a violation ticket or not.

“Kung mapapanood po natin ang video putol na po ang naturang video at hindi natin alam kung sila po ba ay hinuli ng ating mga traffic enforcers. Makikita din po natin sa video na my tatawid na tricycle at naka bisikleta. Kaya sila po ay hinarang at ganoon na lamang din po ang pag papahinto ng ating mga enforcers para maka iwas sa aksidente,” the agency added.

MTPB is a traffic enforcing unit that is directly under the supervision of the Office of the City Mayor of Manila.

It reportedly “ensures the efficiency and effective delivery of basic services and facilities through direction and control of traffic situation and designation of pay and no-pay parking areas on all streets and bridges within the City of Manila.”

Traffic enforcers in the metro have a reputation for bribery and extortion on the road, which is also commonly called as “kotong.”

Some of them would extort money from apprehended motorists in exchange for letting them go scot-free. Others resort to apprehending motorists even when there are no clear violations to earn money or fulfill a certain “quota.”

Last year, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno warned traffic violators against bribing enforcers on the road and told them they should held liable for their violations.

He also dismissed an MTPB enforcer who was caught in the act of extortion on a closed-circuit television camera.