Lawmaker seeks probe on no-contact apprehension

Sheila Crisostomo - The Philippine Star
Lawmaker seeks probe on no-contact apprehension
The Land Transportation Office is asking LGUs to first fix rules in their no-contact apprehension policy, including stiff fines and the lack of stoplight countdown timers.
Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — Citing alleged malpractice in the implementation of contactless apprehension of motorists, Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert “Ace” Barbers yesterday asked the House of Representatives to investigate the program being carried out by several local government units (LGUs) and the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

Barbers is seeking an inquiry into the implementation of No Contact Apprehension Policy (NCAP), saying he has been receiving complaints primarily from motorcycle-riding delivery men who are being fined excessively “without due process.”

“This NCAP system is laudable since the intent is to discipline erring, abusive or wayward drivers,” Barbers said in a privilege speech.

He said he was informed that enforcers of the NCAP are imposing excessive fines in violation of the Constitution.

“There is no law, ordinance or regulation prohibiting vehicle registration due to non-payment of fines for traffic violations,” said Barbers, who chairs the House committee dangerous drugs.

As this developed, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) has asked LGUs for a dialogue to review the NCAP.

LTO chief Teofilo Guadiz appealed to LGUs to sit down with the agency and iron out the implementing rules and regulations in the wake of widespread complaints from motorists.

Guadiz said public utility vehicle operators are complaining as they are forced to pay the fines for traffic violations.

“We are studying this. There is a need to review policy to make drivers liable for the offense. We will look into ways to make drivers liable,” Guadiz said in a statement.

There have been issues wherein the vehicle involved has been sold to another individual, but the transfer of ownership has not been registered.

“There are also instances wherein the name of the owner of the vehicle has been changed, and yet since this was not immediately registered with the LTO, it’s the former owner of the vehicle who is being asked to pay the fines. We would like to revisit this aspect,” he added.

Barbers said that while the objective of NCAP is to discipline erring drivers, the public should be enlightened about the details of its implementation to stop abuses.

Under the NCAP system, the concerned LGUs or the MMDA issues notices and mails these directly to the vehicles’ registered owners.

Non-payment of dues or fines within a specific period means the vehicle involved won’t be accommodated for registration.

Barbers said the NCAP turned out to be an additional burden to motorists and could become a source of corruption.

“We need a change in our traffic management system, and I’m fully in support of the intent of NCAP … But this early, we need further enlightenment on this policy so that there would be less or no more complaints from motorists in the days to come,” he maintained.

Guadiz said the LTO is willing to help the LGUs and the MMDA in implementing the NCAP.

He said the LTO could send out alarms about the vehicle involved in a violation to address these issues.

Guadiz said the NCAP should be fine-tuned for a stronger and more effective implementation to ensure better traffic flow in Metro Manila. – Romina Cabrera


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