There is this old joke among drivers regarding traffic lights in the Philippines; “Green means 'go', yellow means 'go faster,' and red means 'go even faster." All of this implies that there is no traffic enforcer or police to catch you for beating the red light. While some may find it funny, the old joke may have unconcsciously eencouraged bad driving. This is evident in social media videos of kamote riders or drivers beating the red light, or other examples of bad riding or driving.
Thankfully, in the past few years, technology has caught up and is now helping to shame and punish these violators. Besides uploaded videos from regular citizens, the MMDA and LGU's network of CCTV cameras are now capable of identifying and helping to apprehend these violators. After reading this article, you might think twice before committing a traffic violation even though, walang bantay (there's no traffic enforcer) around.
Last Thursday during the National Safe Kids Week celebration at the SM Mall of Asia Music Hall, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Deputy Chairman Usec. Frisco San Juan, Jr. said that, thanks to the agency's intensified CCTV monitoring for the No Contact Traffic Apprehension Policy, from the previous 3,000 violators caught by the MMDA, it is now up to 17,000 violators caught every month.
For those of you who are not familiar with the No Contact Traffic Apprehension Policy (NCTAP) of the MMDA, here's a short FAQ from the MMDA's website:
The No Contact Traffic Apprehension is a policy that utilizes CCTV, digital cameras and/or other gadgets or technology to capture videos and images to apprehend vehicles violating traffic laws, rules and regulations.
Video from the agency's network of CCTV cameras is used to catch violators in the act, as well as identify the plate number of the vehicle and send its owner a sanction, and prevent them from renewing registration. It's not limited to the MMDA and LGU's network of cameras. The agency will use publicly uploaded videos as well. Remember the actress, Maria Isabel Lopez, who drove along the restricted ASEAN Lane along EDSA during the 2017 ASEAN Summit held in the country? The MMDA used the video she posted on social media to recommend the permanent revocation of her driver's license.
What is its coverage?
The No Physical Contact Apprehension covers the apprehension of violators in areas within Metro Manila that are covered by MMDA CCTV cameras.
According to the MMDA, there are currently more than 300 CCTVs positioned in various key areas of Metro Manila and are manned by operators in real-time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Will the policy rid Metro Manila roads of MMDA Traffic Enforcers?
No. It was conceptualized to supplement the presence of MMDA Traffic Enforcers. Aside from the fact that there are still places not covered by CCTVs, the NCTAP was designed to catch moving violations, thus leaving the apprehension of administrative offenses to MMDA constables. Areas with No Contact Aprrehension (NCTAP) signs, may still have traffic enforces within the area.
How will the No Contact Team know about the records of the vehicle?
The MMDA No Contact Apprehension Team will search for the motor vehicle's record in coordination with the Land Transportation Office – Information Query Facility (LTO-IQF). The LTO-IQF is a database that contains a vehicle's plate number, make, model, registered owner, and contact details. From this information, the agency can send the owner of the registered vehicle a notice/summon for the traffic violation, the penalty, and how to resolve it. The vehicle will also be flagged with the violation and prevented from having its registration renewed until the traffic violation is solved.
If I’m the registered owner and the current owner hasn’t processed the vehicle’s transfer of registration yet, will I still be penalized for a violation I did not commit?
The summon shall require the registered owner of the vehicle to identify its driver at the time and place indicated in the notice and his/her address. It is the responsibility of the current owner to have the vehicle registered under his/her name. If a previous owner receives the notice, he or she may proceed to the No-Contact Apprehension Office at the MMDA main building in Makati City and show a notarized Deed of Sale as evidence, as well the name and address of the current owner.
The the driver at the time may be different, the registered vehicle owner will be liable for any incident the car or motorcycle is involved in, e.g.: a traffic violation or accident. As such, make sure you have your updated address on the vehicle's registration documents, and change the name on the papers immediately after it is sold.
How will the MMDA send the summon/notice to violators?
Notices shall be sent thru registered mail (Philpost) for private owners of vehicles; while the bus company's liaison officer may pick up the summons in the MMDA's Records Division.
What if the violator refuses to receive the summon?
Traffic violators who refuse to receive or accept the summon issued to them without any valid reason shall be deemed to have received it by leaving a copy and submission of an affidavit of service or report attesting the refusal of the violator to acknowledge receipt of the summon. Put simply, it will be marked as received whether you like it or not.
Within how many days should a driver settle his/her violation under this policy?
Payment of fines and penalties should be made within seven days upon receipt of the first summon to any authorized accredited payment centers unless a protest is filed before the MMDA TAD, in which case, the fines as finally adjudicated shall be paid at the Collection Division of the MMDA Central Office.
Where should I pay to settle my violation?
The violator may pay either in the MMDA Main Office, SM Bills Payment, LBC, and accredited Bayad Centers nationwide. Settling your traffic violation(s) has never been more convenient.
If I don’t agree with the violation given to me, how do I contest it?
The summon contains a statement that the traffic violator shall have the right to file a protest before the MMDA-Traffic Adjudication Division or TAD within seven days from receipt of the summon, and that failure to do so within the prescribed period shall be seen as a waiver of such right to contest the violation or present evidence as a defense. Within fifteen days from receipt of an adverse TAD resolution, the driver may file a Motion for Reconsideration. Within thirty (30) days from receipt of the denial of the Motion for Reconsideration, the driver may file an appeal at the Office of the Chairman where the Decision shall be final and executory.
What will happen if I don’t pay at all?
If a violator fails to settle the assessed fines or penalties from the receipt of the summon, the vehicle license plate number shall be included in the alarm list and be reported to the LTO with a request that its registration not be renewed until the penalties or fines are fully settled.
This is again, self-explanatory. Don't settle the penalties, get hassled even more upon your next vehicle registration.
So next time you approach a red stop light and are planning on violating it, just think again. Someone may be watching the CCTV's footage. Traffic rules, after all, are not only for your own safety but for other road users as well.