Marcos bans gov’t officials from using sirens, blinkers

MANILA. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
MANILA. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.Photo from PCO

PRESIDENT Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has signed an order prohibiting government officials and personnel from using sirens, blinkers and other similar flashing devices on their vehicles.

Signed on March 25, 2024, by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin on behalf of the President, Administrative Order (AO) 18 aims to create a safer and more organized traffic environment.

A copy of the order is posted on the Presidential Communications Office’s Facebook page on Thursday, April 11.

The President’s order comes after reports of widespread misuse of sirens and flashing lights by unauthorized government vehicles, causing traffic disruptions.

It cites Presidential Decree 96, issued by Marcos’ father and namesake in 1973. The martial law-era decree limits the “use or attachment of any sirens, bells, horns, whistles or similar gadgets that produce exceptionally loud or startling sound, including dome lights, blinkers, and other similar signaling or flashing devices to any motor vehicle” to official use by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, National Bureau of Investigation, and fire trucks and hospital ambulances.


Section 1 of AO 18 states that “all government officials and personnel are hereby prohibited from utilizing sirens, blinkers, and other similar gadgets that produce exceptionally loud or startling sound, including dome lights, blinkers, or other similar signaling or flashing devices.”

“Unauthorized and improper use of signaling or flashing devices by government officials and employees shall be dealt with in accordance with applicable laws, rules and regulations,” it added.

The ban applies to all government officials and personnel; however, the use of sirens and flashing lights in authorized vehicles is limited to emergencies.

The President tasked the Department of Transportation with reviewing existing policies to ensure the effective implementation of the order.

The directive takes effect immediately upon publication.

Noynoy’s ‘no wang-wang’ policy

A similar policy was implemented during the administration of former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III from 2010 to 2016.

Aquino III issued a no “wang-wang” policy, strengthening the implementation of PD 96.

Despite being allowed to use sirens and blinkers on his convoy, Aquino did not use them. He also forbade his aides and the Presidential Security Group from using sirens and blinkers whenever they would be on the move. He ordered the same for his cabinet and the rest of his staff.

It remains to be seen if President Marcos’ convoy will use sirens and blinkers. His delegation left the country at 2:56 p.m. on Wednesday to take part in the first-ever trilateral meeting between the Philippines, the US, and Japan. He is set to arrive in Washington, DC, around 8 p.m. on Thursday (US time).

Chavit Singson’s convoy

Last Monday, April 8, national media reported that a convoy of former Ilocos Sur governor Chavit Singson received two violation tickets after traffic enforcers from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority caught his convoy passing through the Edsa bus lane.

The politician-turned-businessman was in the backseat of his bulletproof vehicle when his convoy was flagged down.

Singson’s convoy, however, was reportedly not cited for using blinkers.

He issued an apology after the incident, saying he was in a rush for a television interview. / KAL


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