THE Land Transportation Office (LTO) in Northern Mindanao has seized at least 15 sirens (locally called wang-wang) and blinkers at the start of its operation in Cagayan de Oro City Tuesday.

The seizure is in compliance with the directive of President Benigno Aquino III to ban the use of sirens, blinkers and emergency lights on all private and public vehicles.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

The LTO started its operation at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday along Bulua Highway in the western side of the city, focusing more on sports utility vehicles (SUVs).

"We specifically identify SUVs because most of the owners of these vehicles use sirens," said Jun Tupag, chief of LTO’s Law Enforcement Department, in an interview over the radio.

As of 9 a.m. Tupag said they have already confiscated at least 15 sirens.

He said they also seized blinkers used even by public utility vehicles.

“Included in the ban are air horns because these can cause headache and can affect a person’s hearing,” Tupag said.

Aquino earlier banned the use of sirens and blinkers, which he emphasized during his inaugural speech, after noting abuses from some politicians and private citizens who often used them to pass through a traffic-congested area.

Under Presidential Decree 96 issued by Aquino, only select vehicles of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Land Transportation Office (LTO), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and ambulance can use sirens, bells, horns or other gadgets while government officials allowed to use sirens or blinkers are only the President, Vice President, Senate President, House Speaker and chief of the Supreme Court.

With this, Tupag is calling on the owners of vehicles to remove sirens, blinkers, emergency lights or any related devices or gadgets on their vehicles to avoid confiscation.

Tupag said the licenses of the drivers would also be confiscated along with these devices.

Meanwhile, the Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (Cocpo) assures it would help in the implementation of the ban in the city.

City Police Director Benedicto Lopez, Cocpo chief, said although Cocpo has set up checkpoints to apprehend violators of the “no plate no travel” policy and arrest criminals, they would also seize sirens or blinkers if necessary. (SVB/ALR)