THE RIGHT MOVE
NCAP or the No Contact Apprehension Policy, is a system where cars are already ticketed for traffic violations without the intervention of traffic enforcers. Supposedly, state-of-the-art cameras with artificial intelligence technology photograph and record the conduction stickers and plate numbers of vehicles that violate traffic rules. When a camera detects a violation, the system will automatically generate a Notice of Violation (NOV) that will then be forwarded to the city government for review and approval.
NCAP in its essence is a good and modernized way to instill discipline among motorists and was enforced by the government to help address the country's traffic situation. Why then is the country's transport sector criticizing it?
According to Jun De Leon, spokesperson of LABAN Transport Network Vehicle Services (TNVS) and convenor of the Stop NCAP Coalition, the mandate of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) as of last week in refusing to renew licenses of transport operators with pending NCAP violation cases is unfair. This follows appeals submitted to the LTO by operators whose renewal applications were dismissed by the LTO, despite evidence that they were not the drivers of the offending vehicles.
Although the purpose of NCAP is good in essence, De Leon added that its implementation is not timely because the equipment and infrastructure used in the country are still insufficient.
“Roads, line markings, signages, and installation of digital timers in traffic lights for example need to be prioritized first. The system also needs to be fixed on how to punish drivers who violate traffic laws instead of taxi or jeep operators. It is a pity that the operators were not allowed by the LTO to renew their license because there were pending tickets that sometimes reached ₱20,000 per jeep. Fortunately, LTO Chief Teofilo Guadiz has taken action to first hold the agreement of the LTO and some LGUs implementing the NCAP.”
“We (motorists) are part of the problem, but we are also part of the solution. I hope we can work together to solve this. We are their allies, not enemies,” said de Leon.
While the law is the law and must be followed to a tee, another issue with the NCAP are the existing loopholes which have caught the attention of lawmakers led by Congressman Marvin Rillo of Quezon City. Quezon City has one of the highest numbers of NCAP violations.
“Number one, the penalty fees of NCAP are anti-poor. For a violation, motorists can be charged up to ₱5,000 in cities that have partnered with private companies. How can an erring jeepney driver who earns ₱400 a day possibly feed his family when he has to pay such an incredulously high fee for swerving for instance? NCAP, as it is now, could still be refined to include how to penalize violators taking into consideration other issues such as force majeure like sudden thunderstorms resulting in floods, or blocked bike lanes that have forced drivers to go over lanes. There are possible solutions to address these matters including considering widening the scope of the CCTVs so it will capture videos and images leading to the actual violation. The MMDA, LTO, and LGUs must come up with a uniformed set of guidelines for the implementation of NCAP,” Rillo said.
Rillo, along with leaders of the transport sector, filed a resolution to urge the House Committees on Local Government, MMDA and Transportation to conduct a public hearing to identify the areas that need to be improved, changed and modified for the benefit not just of a few, but for majority of motorists and the commuting public. While I am a stickler for the law, our laws or city ordinances for this matter, should not in its slightest appear to have been done in heedless haste.