(File photo)

MANILA – A lawmaker on Tuesday sought an inquiry into the implementation of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority’s (MMDA) no-contact apprehension policy (NCAP) due to the "enormous" traffic fines imposed even for minor violations.

Surigao del Norte Representative Robert Ace Barbers made the call during the plenary session after receiving reports and complaints from motorists who are being penalized with enormous fees “without due process of law”.

Barbers noted that while the intent of NCAP to discipline erring drivers is laudable, 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 local government units concerned issue notices or citation and mail them directly to the vehicles registered owners. Non-payment of dues or fines on a specific period of seven days meant that violators’ vehicles would not be accommodated for re-registration.

Barbers said the NCAP implementation could become an additional burden for motorists and 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 in a privilege speech.

He 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 LGUs like Manila, Quezon City, Paranaque and Valenzuela have also adopted the NCAP system in their own localities.

He noted the possibility of overlapping implementation, in which an erring driver could be penalized twice for the same offense by the different implementors.

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.”

The public, he said, should also be informed on the details of the private technology or service providers, some security related issues, and accountability such as where are the penalties or fees they collect go.

“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. (PNA)