‘Fake news’ on noncontact apprehension policy hits MMDA, sows confusion

March 12,2018

KEEPING WATCH. Traffic law enforcement goes multiscreen at the MMDA headquarters in Makati City. ALEXIS CORPUZ

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) maintained that traffic constables would still flag down erring motorists, contrary to text messages that circulated on Friday claiming otherwise.

Jojo Garcia, acting MMDA general manager, made the clarification in an effort to prevent possible confrontations that may arise between motorists and traffic constables due to the “erroneous reports,” which even tagged Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea as the source of the agency’s change in policy.

Purported advisory

“It’s fake news. We deny such reports. It is not true there’s no more ground apprehension,” Garcia said.

On Friday, a purported advisory from the MMDA that made rounds in various chat groups claimed that starting on March 15, traffic constables would no longer flag down traffic violators since the agency would fully utilize its closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras to catch erring motorists.

At a glance, the advisory appeared to be authentic as it also reminded the public to strictly follow traffic rules and regulations, such as the wearing of seat belts and not going out on coding days.

Certain details, however, gave away that the advisory was only made up.

For one, it got the date of the implementation wrong as it said that March 15 was a Friday, when it falls on a Thursday. Also, it claimed that motorists only have five days to contest their traffic violation, when the MMDA gives them seven days to do so.

Mainstream media

Garcia reminded the public that any changes in their policies would only be released through the mainstream media and their official Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Earlier, Garcia said they would intensify the use of their 300 CCTV cameras deployed along various major thoroughfares in Metro Manila. This was mainly due to the 30-percent drop in the number of MMDA traffic constables, who had either resigned or were dismissed due to corruption issues.

Since December last year up to Feb. 28, more than 100,000 motorists have been caught through the agency’s noncontact apprehension policy. – By: Jovic Yee  

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