Amid mounting complaints from motorists
SURIGAO del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers on Tuesday sought an inquiry into the alleged malpractice in the implementation of No Contact Apprehension Policy (NCAP) after receiving reports and complaints from motorists, particularly motorbike drivers engaged in delivery services, who are being penalized with enormous fees “without due process of law”.
Barbers, chairman of the House Committee Dangerous Drugs, said that while the intent of NCAP is to discipline erring drivers, the public should be enlightened about the details of its implementation to curb or stop abuses by the implementors.
Under the NCAP system, the MMDA or LGUs concerned issue notices/citation and mail them directly to the vehicles registered owners. Non-payment of dues/fines on a specific period (7 days) meant that violators’ vehicles won’t be accommodated for re-registration.
Barbers said the NCAP implementation, it appears, gave rise to more questions than answers. It took a life of its own and became a problem by itself, an additional burden and could become a source of corruption, institutionalized by the state.
“This NCAP system is laudable since the intent is to discipline erring, abusive or wayward drivers. But the implementors, I was told, are imposing excessive fines and could be violating the Constitution since there is no due process of law. Likewise there is no law, ordinance or regulation prohibiting vehicle registration due to non-payment of fines for traffic violations,” Barbers said.
The solon from Mindanao said NCAP is supposed to be implemented by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), in coordination with the Land Transportation Office (LTO), in all major thoroughfares in the region, but some local government units (LGUs), like Manila, Quezon City, Paranaque and Valenzuela have also acquired/adopted NCAP technology in their own localities.
“Do their respective CCTV monitors overlap with each other? What if one erring driver is caught on the MMDA NCAP and say, at the same time with Quezon City NCAP, will the driver be penalized twice for same offense?” Barbers asked.
“How about the erring drivers of government-issued (red plate) vehicles? I understand the NCAP implementors are hastily imposing penalties against owners of vehicles involved in traffic violation. Do these NCAP implementors have a way of billing penalties to the government agencies concerned?” he asked.
Barbers said if the MMDA would be the only forum on where these erring drivers caught on NCAP CCTV monitors can file grievances, complaints, protests, then the agency would then virtually become “the accuser, judge and executioner.”
Barbers said the public should also be informed on the details of the private technology/service providers, some security related issues, and accountability such as where are the penalties/fine or fees they collect go.
“With the NCAP by the MMDA and LGUs, what happened to the thousands of traffic enforcers hired by them, are we still paying for their salaries or have they joined the ranks of the unemployed? Is the NCAP intended to replace the traffic enforcers? If yes, who and how will the apprehension of drivers whose vehicles do not have plate numbers and other violations that cannot be captured by the cameras be conducted?”, Barbers asked.
“Yes, we need a change in our traffic management system, and I’m fully in support of the intent of NCAP. It won’t be long that some other LGUs in NCR and other major urban centers in the country would acquire/adopt that system. But this early, we need further enlightenment on this policy so that there would be less or no more complaints from motorists in the days to come,” he said.