Reduced penalty for unpaid traffic violations mulled

The Baguio City Council has approved on first reading an ordinance seeking to reduce the fines for all unpaid traffic violations committed on or before December 31, 2020.

The proposed ordinance was introduced by the city council’s Committee on Public Utilities, Transportation and Traffic Legislation as a response to the request of Mayor Benjamin Magalong and Traffic and Transportation Management Division (TTMD) Head Januario Borillo.

Magalong and Borillo requested the council to enact an ordinance granting a one-time amnesty program for unpaid traffic violations in order to provide an opportunity for erring motorists to pay their outstanding fines and subsequently claim their confiscated vehicle registration plate.

In his letter dated August 23, 2021, Magalong informed the legislative body that a total of 2,166 registration plates of vehicles and motorcycles are still unclaimed at the Traffic Enforcement Unit of the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO).

Subsequently, Borillo forwarded to the city council a list of the confiscated license plates for possible legislative action.

According to Councilor Benny Bomogao, these confiscated items “take up space” and “affect the efficiency of the said office.”

Once enacted, the ordinance shall cover traffic citation tickets (TCTs) issued to motorists on or before December 31, 2020 for having violated the traffic and transportation ordinances of the city.

All fines, as proposed by the ordinance, shall be reduced to P200,00.

Traffic violators covered by the ordinance upon its enactment may redeem their confiscated driver’s license card or registration plate upon paying their reduced fines within a period of three months.

According to the proposed ordinance, license plates not redeemed within the three-month period shall be forwarded to the Land Transportation Office (LTO) for proper action and disposal.

The proposed measure has been referred to the Committee on Public Utility, Transportation, and Traffic Legislation for review and shall be calendared in one of the regular sessions of the council for its approval on second reading and for publication.

Earlier, the city government and the Land Transportation Office-Cordillera Administrative Region (LTO-CAR) forged an agreement for the proper disposal of unclaimed registration plates of motor vehicles confiscated by police officers, deputized Public Order and Safety Division (POSD) personnel, and barangay officials.

LTO-CAR regional director Francis Ray Almora stated that the said agreement is part of the overall efforts of the agency to strictly implement the policy on the no-detachment of license plates attached to vehicles as a license plate is considered the private property of the owner and that it is also classified as permanently attached to the vehicle where it rightfully belongs. –Jordan G. Habbiling w/ a report from Dexter See