MANILA, Philippines – The La Loma police have come up with a unique way of dealing with “colorum” tricycle drivers in the area.
Under a memorandum of agreement signed between the police and the owners of the 425 three-wheeler vehicles operating without a franchise, all colorum tricycles should be painted a bright shade of violet to set them apart from the yellow and white tricycles that have franchises.
Supt. Norberto Babagay, La Loma police station commander, said this would make it easier not just for them, but also for passengers, to tell which tricycles were operating legally and which were not.
He added that since they implemented the color-coding scheme on Feb. 25, passengers who accidentally left their belongings in colorum tricycles were able to retrieve their possessions.
“[In addition], the crime volume attributed to tricycle drivers has dropped…as honesty and discipline are being instilled among the driver-members,” Babagay said.
He reported that so far, they have recorded only three incidents of robberies involving men on board tricycles in the area.
Babagay said the idea for the color-coding scheme came up earlier this year after he ordered his men to go after colorum tricycles following reports that some of their drivers were involved in thefts and robberies.
A total of 42 drivers were taken in for questioning, prompting the operators of colorum tricycles to seek a dialogue with the police.
Babagay, however, clarified that the tricycle operators were just waiting for the processing of their application for a franchise and that the color-coding does not legalize their status.
“They are still colorum drivers and they can still be apprehended by the Tricycle Regulation Unit of Quezon City or other authorities,” he said.
Meanwhile, Babagay said he has asked the tricycle drivers to help them in their campaign against criminals in La Loma which covers 17 barangays.
The unregistered tricycle drivers can act as “force multipliers” who may report suspicious activities in the area, he added.
“They take note if there are new faces in the area and monitor criminal activities like petty theft or snatching in the routes they ply,” Babagay said.
The drivers can then give the information to the police, he added.–Julie M. Aurelio, Philippine Daily Inquirer