PHILIPPINE National Police chief Director General Oscar D. Albayalde on Wednesday ordered the dismantling of all stationary police and other government checkpoints nationwide amid complaints that they are being used to extort money from motorists and drivers of delivery trucks and vans.
The order came following a directive from President Rodrigo Duterte who also aired his concerns over mulcting activities at these checkpoints during a meeting with rice traders last April.
In a memorandum to all 17 police regional office directors, Albayalde ordered the removal of all checkpoints in their areas including those established on highways and roads by local government units, the Department of Agriculture, Department of Environment and Natural Resources and other agencies.
The order also included checkpoints being manned by officers and deputized agents of the Land Transportation Office and the Department of Public Works and Highways.
Officials said they have been receiving numerous complaints about irregularities taking place at checkpoints being manned by LTO and DPWH personnel.
Some LTO personnel manning checkpoints have been accused of flagging down motorists and drivers of delivery trucks and threatening them with all kinds of charges if they would not pay up.
On the other hand, some DPWH personnel manning “DPWH weighing stations” have gained notoriety for extorting cash from truck drivers for alleged “overloading.”
However, Albayalde stressed that law enforcement and mobile checkpoint operations shall be within the discretion of the concerned regional directors.
Control points leading to major tourist areas in the country like in Panglao, Bohol will remain to protect foreign and domestic tourists and local residents since they are located on highways which are not the main supply routes for rice and basic commodities.