MMDA ‘Big Brother’ tags more than 200 vehicles in 8 hrs
Within eight hours, more than 200 vehicles were tagged on camera for traffic violations under the “no-contact” apprehension policy relaunched on Friday by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).
Most of the early violations were for obstruction, reckless driving, and illegally using Edsa tunnels, the last involving public utility buses, said MMDA Chair Emerson Carlos, who said the scheme officially took effect at 8:30 a.m.
By 9 a.m., 146 vehicles have been cited for infractions. By noon, 176. The number has swelled to more 200 as of 4 p.m.
Making these decisions was a 15-member team—the MMDA’s version of Big Brother—who monitors multiple CCTV (closed-circuit television) screens inside a sound-proof, glass-paneled room at the agency’s headquarters in Makati City.
“They have been caught. This is what (the cameras) can do,” Carlos said as he pointed to one screen showing a red car that had stopped next to a no-parking sign and another video feed that caught a small truck taking up two lanes to park.
Based on a demonstration made before the media, the monitors can get the name and address of the owner of a vehicle within seconds by just typing the license plate information captured by the CCTVs, which the MMDA said can produce high-definition images.
Under the scheme, MMDA will send a summons to the owner, who must identify the person behind the wheel at the date, time and place of the violation. The summons, which also contains a photo of the vehicle, states the type of violation and corresponding fine.
Motorists can contest the citation in an appeals process that can reach the office of the MMDA chair. The agency has warned owners that they would not be able to renew their vehicles’ registration at the Land Transportation Office (LTO) if they ignore the summons and penalties.
Carlos on Friday clarified that MMDA personnel would still “review” the day’s footage of violations. After the review, “if we are sure there was really a violation and the evidence is incontrovertible,” the MMDA will verify the vehicle’s ownership with the LTO and the traffic violation ticket will be sent to the owner.
The MMDA has taken steps to ensure that no one from the monitoring team could be influenced by external factors, he said. “We will do a continuous rotation to avoid familiarity. We didn’t take the bus operators here (during their earlier tour of the MMDA headquarters).’’
For motorists who want to challenge the citation, he said, “you can always present own evidence if you have that. You can bring your own video, if you have a dashcam, to dispute our allegations.”
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