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LTO calls for suspension of ‘no contact apprehension policy’ pending guidelines clarification

Kaycee Valmonte - Philstar.com
LTO calls for suspension of âno contact apprehension policyâ pending guidelines clarification
FILE PHOTO
Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines (Updated August 10, 11:21 a.m.) — The Land Transportation Office (LTO) is calling on local government units to temporarily suspend the “no contact apprehension policy” (NCAP) so they could review and clarify the guidelines of the said traffic policy.

The NCAP allows Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) traffic enforcers to keep watch and track traffic law violators through the use of CCTV, digital cameras, and other technology. LGUs are the ones tasked to draft the guidelines of the policy. 

However, LTO Chief and Transportation Department Assistant Secretary Teofilo Guadiz III said the implementation of the said policy should be suspended first after public utility vehicle operators complained that they are the ones getting charged for the violations committed by their drivers. 

He pointed out that under the law, the registered owner of the vehicle will be required to pay the penalty fees.

“Tila po may kakulangan sa policy na maaring kailangan repasuhin upang ang mismong drayber or nagmamaneho ng sasakyan ang dapat na managot sa paglabag. We will look into ways na ang dapat managot ay ang drayber,” Guadiz said. 

(It seems like there is a gap in the policy that we need to address so that the actual driver of the vehicle will be held accountable for violations. We will look into ways where the driver will be held responsible.)

He also said that there are cases where the transfer of ownership of secondhand vehicles is not yet registered with the LTO.

The LTO said the policy is “noble” but it still needs some work for effective implementation. 

“Ito po ay proyekto ng mga LGU. Ang part lang ng LTO ay kami ang naglalabas ng alarma sa mga sasakyang may paglabag" Guadiz said.

(This is a project of the LGUs. The LTO just sounds alarm on the vehicles that have violated the law.)

Excessive fines

Meanwhile, Rep. Robert Ace Barbers (Surigao del Norte) also wanted an investigation into the implementation of the NCAP over corruption allegations. He said he reports that some drives are being fined with high penalty fees.

Barbers called for transparency on where the penalties or fees collected from drivers would go.

“The implementors, I was told, are imposing excessive fines and could be violating the Constitution since there is no due process of law,” Barbers said in a separate statement.

“Likewise there is no law, ordinance or regulation prohibiting vehicle registration due to non-payment of fines for traffic violations.”

He also pointed out that guidelines should be ironed out since some of LGUs, such as Manila, Quezon City, Parañaque and Valenzuela, have their own NCAP technology and policies should detail how to handle erring drivers caught on both the MMDA’s and LGU NCAP’s.

Barbers also said that the NCAP guidelines should detail how to impose penalties if the erring driver is steering the wheel of a government-issued vehicle.

“I understand the NCAP implementors are hastily imposing penalties against owners of vehicles involved in traffic violation. Do these NCAP implementors have a way of billing penalties to the government agencies concerned?” he said.

Barbers also warned that the MMDA would be “the accuser, judge, and executioner” if it remains the only forum where erring drivers can file complaints and grievances. He also said the public should be educated on the details of the service provides used by the agencies. — with reports from Franco Luna

LAND TRANSPORTATION OFFICE

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