LTO forms working group on no-contact apprehension issues

Franco Luna - Philstar.com
LTO forms working group on no-contact apprehension issues
Motorists ply the northbound lane of EDSA in Pasay City before dawn on Aug. 14, 2022. The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will reimplement their number coding scheme in the morning, from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., starting August 15 to help decongest traffic along EDSA during rush hour.
The STAR / Miguel de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — After weeks of criticisms, the Land Transportation Office on Wednesday finally formed a Technical Working Group to sit down and discuss possible proposals ahead of its talks with local government units and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority.

Under no-contact apprehension, state of the art cameras equipped with artificial intelligence and functioning 24/7 are used to capture the plate numbers of vehicles in violation of traffic rules and regulations. Motorists are then sent notices of their violation digitally. 

In a statement sent to reporters, the LTO said that the set meeting with the LGUs and MMDA is expected to push through in the coming days to craft no-contact apprehension guidelines that are “fair and acceptable to all stakeholders.” The policy has been largely panned by motorists in recent weeks over its sudden violations and exorbitant fees. 

“We believe that the talks between the LTO, the LGUs and the MMDA is the best way forward to once and for all come up with fair guidelines on the NCAP’s implementation. We hope the LGUs and its mayors will be more open to receive inputs as to how best the NCAP will be implemented,” Assistant Secretary Teofilo Guadiz, LTO chief said in the statement.

Guadiz was careful to distance from the issue, saying that the agency’s mandate in NCAP implementation is related to alarm tagging only while the overall policy remains proprietary to each local government as an autonomous body. 

He added, though, that the LTO remains “willing to engage and discuss matters with the LGUs and the MMDA to anticipate and iron out possible kinks or loopholes in the policy.”

Earlier, the LTO issued its position that the no-contact apprehension policy should be suspended temporarily for the time being to allow local governments to draft clearer guidelines and address the concerns of motorists.  

“We deem the NCAP as a noble, timely and necessary action that will help realize the objective of digitalizing government services through technology. But just like any other policy, implementation will always be a key issue, and putting the policy into practice should be based on the tenets of the law. We hope the LGUs will sit down with the LTO, whose mandate also includes traffic management, so we can provide fresh perspective on the matter,” Guadiz said.

“The LTO is a firm believer in harnessing the power of digitalization and the use of technology for a better traffic flow in Metro Manila. We believe that only through an effective, efficient, responsive, and fair NCAP will the LGUs reap its benefits not only for their jurisdictions but for the motoring public in general,” he added.

Earlier in June, groups representing transport workers, jeepney drivers and operators questioned the harsh enforcement of no-contact apprehensions from the national government, particularly the Metro Manila Development Authority and the Land Transportation Office.

"The fines are openly and clearly oppressive as well as disproportionate to violations committed what is right and appropriate under a range of circumstances," Zaldy Ping-ay, Stop and Go Transport Coalition national president told Philstar.com in Filipino at the sidelines of a press conference in June.

"What is being done now is the MMDA or the local government unit immediately tags the supposed violation in the LTO database, preventing vehicle owners from being able to register their units. That is the only time the owner or operator is given notice or knowledge of such a violation, and when you defend the violation, you must first pay under the protest, while the registration process is delayed."


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