EXTORTIONISTS in government uniform are said to be one of the principal reasons why prices of goods, particularly rice and other agricultural products, continue to spiral beyond the reach of the poor.
Manning stationary checkpoints, these unscrupulous public servants extort money from angry motorists and delivery truck drivers, drawing the ire of no less than President Rodrigo R. Duterte.
It will be recalled that President Duterte, a lawyer and a former state prosecutor, aired his concerns over these mulcting activities at checkpoints during a meeting with a group of rice traders last April.
As expected, Director General Oscar “Odie” D. Albayalde, chief of the 190,000-member Philippine National Police (PNP), ordered his regional directors to dismantle all stationary checkpoints.
In a memorandum, Albayalde told the 17 police regional directors to remove all checkpoints in their areas of responsibility, including those manned by other government offices and agencies.
They include local government units, Department of Agriculture, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Public Works and Highways and Land Transportation Office.
“Napipilitang magtaas ng presyo ang mga negosyante, lalo na ’yung mga nagluluwas ng bigas, prutas at gulay, para naman hindi sila malugi,” said a long-time delivery truck driver.
For his part, a furious consumer said: “Ang kawawa dito ay ang mga mahihirap. Kaya, tama lang ang utos ni Pangulong Duterte sa pambansang pulisya na lansagin na ang mga checkpoint.”
By dismantling all stationary checkpoints across the country, the government is on track addressing the various problems confronting the suffering consumers, motorists and traders.
It’s long overdue!