It’s a Red Light for the No Contact Apprehension Program (NCAP) for now
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It’s a Red Light for the No Contact Apprehension Program (NCAP) for now

Angelique Agarap

September 5, 2022

  • ncap-suspension

    Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

    In an effort to decongest traffic in the Metro, several programs have been put forward. One of these is the No Contact Apprehension Program (NCAP). According to Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), NCAP is a policy that utilizes CCTV, digital cameras and/or other gadgets or technology to capture videos and images to apprehend vehicles violating traffic laws, rules, and regulations.

    Now, this implies the minimization of human intervention in traffic enforcement, thereby eradicating corruption; establishment of a culture of discipline among motorists and refinement of driving conduct; assurance of road safety as its effectivity in reducing traffic violations and traffic-related accidents has been proven; and lastly, this allows due process since each Local Government Unit (LGU) and MMDA have their own respective traffic adjudication boards.

    This policy has been implemented in five cities namely Manila, Quezon City, Valenzuela, Parañaque, and Muntinlupa.

    But what could have been the “future” of traffic management in the country turned into a thorn in the side of the motorists.

    Reports of incorrectly fined drivers, misidentified vehicles, and the delayed delivery of violation notice have come to light. Additionally, claims of system manipulation for LGU’s financial gains have been made. Not to mention, the inconvenience of challenging a violation. Speaking of which, the most common infractions caught through the NCAP are counterflow driving, disobeying traffic signals and signs, driving over the speed limit and reckless driving.

    Since then, several transport groups challenged the constitutionality of the said program. As a result, the Supreme Court (SC) has issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the NCAP effective immediately, and until further orders from the Court.

    In a briefer released on Tuesday, August 30, the high court said that “Any apprehensions through the NCAP programs and ordinances related thereto shall be prohibited until further orders from the Court.”

    Oral argument is set on January 23, 2023. In the meantime, more traffic personnel will be fielded along major roads amid the TRO.

    The court’s ruling paves way for a purposeful discussion over the NCAP. The system itself is not in question as it has been proven successful in inculcating proper road decorum in countries like India, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, and the United States.

    On paper, the NCAP is a technological boon to traffic management but there are a lot of factors that prevent the system from reaching its full potential. May this welcome pause be used by the authorities to sit down and come up with ways to calibrate the operation of the NCAP.

    Having said this, let us be safe and responsible drivers regardless of the threat of contactless or on-the-ground apprehensions. It’s not enough to just obey the rules but we must also care about the safety of others on the road. You may as well tune in to the #1 radio station at work and on the road while you’re at it!

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