As the government agency tasked to oversee land travel and all the policies connected to it, it’s time the Land Transportation Office flexed its muscle to avoid confusion brought about by the No Contact Apprehension Policy (NCAP) implemented by some Local Government Units.
It has actually made its presence felt by asking LGUs to suspend the NCAP pending infrastructure and clarificatory issues.
The LGUs, which have been raking in millions of pesos from NCAP fines, insisted they would continue until the undisputed wisdom of the Supreme Court finally put a stop to the activity by the power of a temporary restraining order (TRO).
Topping the questions being raised around the NCAP was the different versions of fines and penalties imposed by the LGUs of Manila, Valenzuela, and Quezon City, to name a few.
But what poor motorists, like taxi drivers and delivery riders, complained about was the seemingly excessive fines they have to pay for a simple violation like when one of their front wheels touched the middle lane.
In one night, a taxi driver was fined P7,500, including penalties for late payments. A delivery rider had an accumulated fine of P70,000.
It cannot be denied that NCAP is becoming a fund-raising program rather than a traffic management platform.
Private communities, like gated subdivisions, are now also putting up their own version of road penalties.
One car owner claimed he “parked his car at the dead-end road where a building is being constructed” and found one of the wheels had been clamped. It was noted that dump trucks were allowed to park and there was no visible No Parking sign in the area.
To his surprise, he was asked to pay P5,000 by guards on duty without official receipts.
These kinds of policies, as long as they involve road travel using motorized equipment, should be getting permission first from the LTO before their implementation.
If these will not be regulated, it will lead to abuse by agents of the law, private and government alike. The mismanagement and lack of definitive objective of the NCAP, put hastily by some LGUs, led to people getting frustrated and almost everybody turned against it.
The LGUs and the Metro Manila Metropolitan Development (MMDA) should now make proper consultations with the LTO and some transport groups before implementing NCAP.
And stop focusing on more apprehension, but, instead, put a premium on traffic management.
As for excessive and oppressive fines, the LTO should make unified rates and policies that all LGUs—and the MMDA—must follow.