One of the lifestyle changes that Benigno “Noynoy" Aquino III may have to undertake as president is the use of "wang-wang" (sirens), a practice of some government officials and even private citizens that he vehemently opposes.
At a press conference on Thursday, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the use of sirens for Aquino will be a matter of security concerns.
"It's up to the president himself if wants to refrain from using it (siren), but of course the affairs of the state take precedence over everything, so I think the president will be counseled, advised by the PSG (Presidential Security Group) and he will take the advice of the PSG under consideration," Lacierda said.
In his inaugural speech on Wednesday, Aquino said the indiscriminate use of sirens by several government officials — especially those who are unauthorized by law — emphasizes the excesses of the rich and influential over the common folk.
"Kayo ba ay nagtiis na sa trapiko para lamang masingitan ng isang naghahari-hariang de-wangwang sa kalsada? Ako rin (Have you ever got stuck in heavy traffic, only to see a big shot with flashing siren on the road cut in ahead of you? I have)," he said in his speech.
Aquino, a three-term congressman and senator for three years before he was elected president, is known for obediently following traffic rules and not using sirens even when he has to get to important appointments.
He promised to put an end to the irresponsible use of sirens, among others.
“Walang lamangan, walang padrino at walang pagnanakaw. Walang wang-wang, walang counterflow, walang tong. Panahon na upang tayo ay muling magkawang-gawa," said Aquino in his speech.
(No taking advantage, no invoking of connections in the government, no plunder of funds. No flashing sirens, no counterflow, no cop asking for bribe. It’s time we return to being charitable.)
The late President Ferdinand Marcos issued a decree in 1973 regulating the use of sirens, bells, whistles, horns and other similar devices. [See: 'Law vs. wang wang in place but implementation absent']
"The gadgets or devices mentioned above may be attached to and use only on motor vehicles designated for official use by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, National Bureau of Investigation, Land Transportation Commission, Police Departments, Fire Departments, and hospital ambulances," a portion of the law said.
For government officials, only the President, Vice President, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Supreme Court Chief Justice are entitled to use vehicles with these devices.
Lacierda said since Aquino is authorized by law to use sirens, he can not be faulted for using such. “Since he's allowed by law to use wang-wang, he can use the wang-wang," he said. — KBK/RSJ, GMANews.TV