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SolGen conveys to SC the significance of NCAP controlling NCR traffic.

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During oral arguments Tuesday before the Supreme Court (SC), which heard petitions filed by transportation organizations challenging the measure, state attorneys defended the use of the no-contact apprehension policy (NCAP) for traffic violators in Metro Manila.

The control of road use to guarantee safety and efficiency, according to Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra, who was speaking on behalf of the concerned government agencies before the high tribunal, has a direct impact on the economy.

“We want to be clear that driving on public roads is a luxury, not a right. In addition to a responsibility to maintain the safety of pedestrians and motorists, this privilege entails a shared responsibility to ensure that our roads continue to serve the interests of our country’s economy and benefit each and every one of us “said Guevarra.

“To make sure that this privilege is not abused, our worried local governments and national regulatory organizations have teamed up. They have created a system to control traffic and punish those responsible who misuse their right to use our roads accountable through the NCAP. Therefore, we humbly request that this Most Honorable Court rule that the NCAP complies with our statutes “Added he.

The SolGen clarified that NCAP rules give the registered vehicle owner notice of the violation so that he or she may contest it and pinpoint the real driver of the car who committed the infraction.

In addition to providing the notified party with his due process rights, he added, “this system also achieves the precise objective for which the registered owner rule was established.”

The Metro Manila road system covered 3,091 kilometers in 2010.

The road system in Metro Manila had grown to 4,889 kilometers by 2019. According to the government, this decreased to 23.38 kilometers per hour in 2019. In 2013, the average travel speed in Metro Manila was 32.86 kilometers per hour, notwithstanding the growth of the road system.

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry estimates that daily losses from traffic congestion on the roadways in Metro Manila amount to PHP3.5 billion.

According to forecasts from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), if traffic congestion is not solved, economic losses might rise to PHP5.4 billion per day in 2035. The ever-increasing number of automobiles on Metro Manila’s highways is the direct cause of this traffic jam.

There were 1,372,622 registered vehicles in the National Capital Region (NCR) as of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in 2002. In less than 20 years, there were 3,122,884 vehicles registered in the NCR as of October 2022, a 127 percent growth.

Additionally, there has been a sharp rise in traffic offenses. The LTO handled 162,364 traffic apprehensions in the NCR in 2002. Prior to the outbreak in 2019, there were 250,767 traffic arrests in the NCR.

The SC imposed a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the NCAP in August of last year. NCAP-related programs and ordinances are halted by the TRO, and any arrests made in accordance with the aforementioned policy and regulations “will be forbidden pending further orders from the Court.”

The LTO and “any parties acting on its behalf” are prohibited from providing motorist information to any governmental entities, cities, or municipalities that are enforcing NCAP programs and ordinances by the order.

Alliance of Concerned Transport Organizations, Pasang Masda, Alliance of Transport Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines, and Kilusan sa Pagbabago ng Industriya ng Transportasyon Inc. filed petitions with the court.

Manila, Quezon City, Valenzuela, Paraaque City, Muntinlupa City, and the Land Transportation Office are named in the lawsuit (LTO).

The groups said in a 47-page appeal that a system that employs closed-circuit video cameras puts drivers “under constant threat of being arbitrarily detained remotely and issued notices of violation for supposed traffic infractions committed without any contact whatsoever.”

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