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Tommy T.

Some experiences while driving in Davao City

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I am not a professional driver. But I have driven hundreds of thousands of miles in USA, maybe 10's of thousands of miles in Australia and New Zealand and a few thousand miles in Canada (eh?).

But the driving here in Davao City seems a bit crazy.

Over a year ago, I was driving with my partner in a borrowed Wigo. I came up to an intersection (one of the few with an actually working stoplight). The light was red. Then it turned green with a left turn arrow and I was turning left. The light was green for maybe 15 seconds, then turned yellow and almost immediately red. I started my left turn after the car in front of me while the light was still green. It turned yellow while we were in the intersection and red before we got through it.

Sure enough, there were three or four CTTMO guys lying in wait just after the intersection. One of them waved us over (the windows were tinted dark, so he could not tell if I were Filipino or foreigner). He asked for my driver's license - Washington State - and then asked how long I had been in Philippines. Knowing that the law states that a foreign license is only valid here for 90 days and that I had been here for almost a year since last entry, I lied through my teeth and told him - only one month sir. That seemed to satisfy him...for the moment...

Then he told me something to the effect of, "You ran a red light so I will write you a ticket for reckless driving... How do you feel about that?"

I was gobsmacked... reckless driving? What? I tried to explain about the light, but he would have nothing of it...

So he repeated himself, "I will write you up for reckless driving. You will have to go to the LTO on Monday (this happened on a Friday) and appear to pay your fine....blah blah blah... How do you feel about that?" I told him that, "Okay, I am not happy about it, but if that is what you have to do, then I guess that is what you must do." L then piped up and explained to him that we were going to be away for a while and that would be such a hardship to us... He listened but remained stone-faced.

He then said the same thing one more time about the reckless driving and a ticket, always including, "how do you feel about that?".... I repeated myself too - okay, then you will do that.... I then also told him that I would really be grateful if he would not do that and keep him in my prayers. (yeah, I was laying it on thick now)...

He seemed to consider and then he handed me my license and said, "Okay, you can go."

Later, L told me that the guy was drunk. She somehow could tell by his manner, I could not. We also agreed that he was looking for a bribe. I am paranoid about the laws here and just would not even try that - with my luck, I would try a bribe and then be brought up on charges of attempted bribery. When I told some American friends of mine later, they said, yeah...he was looking for a bribe... just give them 1,000 pesos and they will be happy... Sorry... I was just too cautious to try that and never will.

Since then, L told me she has seen this CTTMO gut regularly showing up at her school when there is food prepared for some event and the local police and CTTMO guys are okay to share in it... Just a comment here.

I have been pulled over more times here than ever in 30 years driving in USA...

I was given a ticket for "Obstruction," while waiting with flashers blinking for L on a street where jeepneys routinely stop and wait for minutes.

I have talked myself out of two tickets - one for speeding (54 in a 40 zone)... Okay, that was legitimate... but the guy was nice and let it slide. The other was another "obstruction" when I parked on a sidewalk where my Filipino said it was okay and legal to park. Again, the CTTMO guy was cool and let me go without the ticket.

Two years ago, I was driving my motorcycle with L on the back and we were pulled over by a sortof checkpoint. The police checked my license (of course, I had only been in the country for 40 days(?). Questioned L about who I was and where we were going, then let us go. 

What sometimes gets me is when I sit at a stoplight and then the light turns green and I see jeepneys, taxis and motorcycles obviously running the red light just as I start to go on the green... Never a cop when you need them!

Okay... I guess that was a rant. I am done now. I will enjoy my Starbucks coffee...

Edited by Tommy T.
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I think my gf got caught in that same ,left turn set up ? She waved her government I D at the cop and he smiled and let her go

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21 hours ago, Tommy T. said:

just give them 1,000 pesos and they will be happy

The very same thing with the lights happened in Manila when my Brother-in-law was driving.  About a dozen cops stopped and surrounded us.  However, since my BIL is a Filipino, the price was only 300 pesos.  I think that it should be the same price for all drivers in the Philippines... just another example of how they overcharge the foreigner for just about everything.

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I keep a 500 peso note twice folded and tucked in behind my Philippine driver license.  If asked for my license I would not be surprised if the note sticks to the back of the license and I end up mistakenly handing him both the note and the license.

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13 minutes ago, Mike J said:

I keep a 500 peso note twice folded and tucked in behind my Philippine driver license.  If asked for my license I would not be surprised if the note sticks to the back of the license and I end up mistakenly handing him both the note and the license.

I have been advised that this will work. But I am truly paranoid that I would do that and then be charged for bribery. At least now that I have a Filipino license, I am not so concerned as I was using my limited validity USA license. But that's why I posted those stories - I am very interested to hear others' experiences so I can learn from them too.

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4 minutes ago, Tommy T. said:

I have been advised that this will work. But I am truly paranoid that I would do that and then be charged for bribery

Not bribery, it is "emergency money" that you keep tucked away and it "got stuck" when you handed over the license.

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5 minutes ago, Tommy T. said:

I have been advised that this will work

 Are we all saying that the Police are Corrupt even in Davao :wow:

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1 minute ago, Jack Peterson said:

 Are we all saying that the Police are Corrupt even in Davao :wow:

Maybe just some can be persuaded to not take the time and effort to write citations sometimes out of the goodness of their hearts?

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On 7/4/2019 at 7:36 AM, Tommy T. said:

I am not a professional driver. But I have driven hundreds of thousands of miles in USA, maybe 10's of thousands of miles in Australia and New Zealand and a few thousand miles in Canada (eh?).

But the driving here in Davao City seems a bit crazy.

Welcome to the Philippines. :smile:

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37 minutes ago, jimeve said:

Welcome to the Philippines. :smile:

Yeah... and how! But it's worse in Manila, I have noticed. I will only ride in taxi's there...

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