MMDA goes ‘physical’

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority will intensify its physical apprehension of traffic violators and the deployment of its ground personnel after the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order on the implementation of the No Contact Apprehension Policy.

Atty. Cris Saruca Jr., MMDA acting spokesperson and head of Legal Service, said on-the-ground apprehension will continue, while the deployment of its traffic enforcers shall be adjusted to cover areas where the NCAP cameras are located. These areas include the length of EDSA, Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon Avenue, Roxas Boulevard, C-5 and Macapagal Boulevard.

While the NCAP has contributed to a change in the behavior of drivers, he stressed the agency will do its best to efficiently perform its mandate on traffic and transport management sans the policy.
“Rest assured that the MMDA, through the leadership of acting chairperson Engineer Carlo Dimayuga III, will do its best to carry out our traffic management mandate by apprehending physically and directing traffic physically, as we await final resolution on the NCAP case,” Saruca said.

The NCAP utilize state-of-the-art cameras with artificial intelligence technology to capture, photograph, and record the conduction stickers and plate numbers of vehicles in violation of traffic rules and regulations. It was implemented 24/7 in select roads in various cities in Metro Manila by the MMDA, Land Transportation Office and local government units.

As this developed, Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra will be representing the Land Transportation Office during the oral arguments on the legality of NCAP scheduled by the SC on 24 January 2023.

“The OSG represents respondent LTO in the NCAP case. But before we could file our comment this afternoon, the SC had issued a TRO,” Guevarra said on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the Quezon City local government said it respects and abides by the SC’s TRO.

During the NCAP’s implementation in Quezon City, it said traffic violations in the affected areas were significantly reduced by 93 percent.

“It has shown that it instills a culture of traffic discipline among motorists, and we believe that its implementation is legal and proper,” the QC LGU said in a statement.

The QC LGU officially implemented NCAP on its major roads on 1 July 2022.

Saruca said the collection of NCAP fines shall also be suspended for the duration of the TRO. However, apprehensions which happened prior to the TRO shall still be subject to the corresponding penalties.

“The Supreme Court said that the TRO is effective immediately and shall continue until further notice. Hence, it is prospective, and those who have been caught through the policy prior to the issuance of the TRO still have to pay their fines,” Saruca explained.

The MMDA registered about 107,000 NCAP apprehensions from January until 24 August this year. Common violations include disregarding traffic signs, the number coding scheme, and no loading and unloading areas.

Even without the NCAP, Saruca hoped motorists will strictly follow traffic rules to ensure smooth traffic flow and for the safety of all road users.

The SC issued the TRO after several transport groups filed petitions against local ordinances related to the NCAP in Manila, Quezon City, Valenzuela, Muntinlupa and Parañaque.

Petitions were filed separately by lawyer Juman Paa and Kilusan sa Pagbabago ng Industriya ng Transportasyon Inc., Pasang Masda, Alliance of Transport Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines, and Alliance of Concerned Transport Organization.


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