• THE AAP CORNER

    MMDA CCTVs can weed out erring traffic enforcers

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    The other Friday (April 15), the Metro Manila Development Authority relaunched its no-contact apprehension policy whereby closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras on EDSA, C-5 Road and other major thoroughfares would videotape traffic violations that the MMDA can use to subsequently impose a fine on the erring motorist.

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    The owner or operator of the vehicle caught flouting traffic regulations on CCTV is sent a summons specifying the date, time, location and nature of the violation committed, and is given seven days after receipt thereof to contest it before the MMDA’s Traffic Adjudication Division (TAD.)

    Failure to contest it within seven days makes the notice to pay the penalty final and executory.

    If the vehicle owner or operator contests the notice with the TAD and the TAD denies the petition, he or she may file an appeal with the office of the MMDA chairman and if the appeal is also denied, a final and executory notice will be sent to him or her to pay the fine upon receipt thereof.

    Failure to pay the fine upon receipt of the final notice will result in the vehicle’s license plate number’s inclusion in the alarm list forwarded to the Land Transportation Office (LTO).

    The LTO will not renew the vehicle’s registration until the penalty is settled.

    Nine days after the no-contact apprehension policy began, nearly 3,000 traffic violators were recorded on CCTV cameras, most of them public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers.

    MMDA Chairman Emerson Carlos had indeed predicted that PUV drivers would make up the majority of violators.

    The MMDA’s revival of the no-contact apprehension policy has been critiqued by road traffic experts, some of them favorably.

    Alberto Suansing, the secretary-general of the Philippine Global Road Safety Partnership (PGRSP), a non-profit, non-stock organization chaired by Automobile Association Philippines (AAP) president Gus Lagman, said he supports the MMDA policy but urged the government to use the same technology to weed out erring traffic enforcers.

    Suansing, who headed the LTO and subsequently the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board during the previous administration, said the program is a “welcome development” in ensuring proper law enforcement and instilling discipline among traffic enforcers as well as motorists.

    “These CCTVS could be a great deterrent to unlawful acts on the road,” Suansing said. “I believe that this could work, if done properly, just like a similar program in Singapore. “

    “However, the government should make good use of the technology as it could also serve as the ‘eye in the sky’ watching and identifying blundering enforcers.”

    He added that motorists should not be afraid of the new policy as it reminds everyone to be mindful of traffic rules and regulations.

    “We [motorists]should not be afraid of this change. In fact, we should welcome it wholeheartedly in our effort to change the unlawful acts that seem to have become the norm on the road,” he said.

    Suansing explained that the program is meant to be an adjunct to enforcers in catching moving violations, leaving the apprehension of administrative offenses to constables.

    He also noted that due process will be followed as motorists will be given seven days to question the notice of violation.

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