STARTING this year, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will fully implement the “on-camera apprehension” scheme for traffic violators as it geared up to fully modernize its traffic operations in the metropolis.

MMDA General Robert Nacianceno on Sunday said the scheme, which was tested last year, would use Close Circuit Television Cameras (CCTV) deployed along strategic points in the metropolis and hand-held cameras to record any traffic violation by motorists.

For updates from around the country, follow Sun.Star on Twitter

“We will formally start this year the on-camera apprehension or OCA. With this, all traffic violations caught are through our CCTV and hand-held cameras,” Nacianceno said.

To make the system more effective, the MMDA would also field additional CCTV and traffic enforcers with hand-held cameras, especially in areas where there are usually build-up of traffic especially during rush hours.

There are already 50 CCTV cameras operational in various strategic points in Metro Manila.

Dubbed the “Road Safety Surveillance System and Wireless Communications Backbone,” the first batch of traffic surveillance cameras are installed on key intersection of EDSA, Macapagal Boulevard, Roxas Boulevard, Pasay Road, Ayala Avenue, Ortigas Avenue, Santolan Road, Aurora Boulevard, Timog and East Avenue, Quezon and North Avenue, Roosevelt and Congressional Avenue, Balintawak, Rizal Avenue, Elliptical Road, Philcoa and Kalayaan, and Visayas Avenues.

The MMDA has recently purchased 30 portable ticketing machines (PTM) for P80,000 each as part of the agency's effort to upgrade its technology and automate the issuance of citation tickets.

When enough PTMs are acquired, it will replace the use of the old-fashioned traffic violation booklets and ballpens.

The PTM is also equipped with a Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID) reader. The RFID is a microchip that the MMDA installs on every bus on EDSA to track and monitor their movement.

In a related development, Nacianceno said the MMDA earned about P74 million in fines meted for various traffic infractions committed by motorists since the OCA scheme was tested last year.

The amount was paid by about 70 percent of the 40,000 traffic violators recorded by the agency. The penalty can be paid at any Metrobank branch nationwide.

“This is proof our programs is effective and with the full implementation this year we would be likened to other countries, which do not approach erring drivers to issue ticket for violating traffic rules,” Nancianceno added.

He however warned erring motorists not to disregard the traffic citation tickets issued by the agency under the OCA, saying that failure to settle the penalty would only result to an even greater fine, and possibly difficulties when they register their vehicles at the Land Transportation Office (LTO) as they have an interconnectivity system with the latter.

Interconnectivity system meanwhile was launched early last year, paving the way for a faster exchange of information and coordination between the two government agencies regarding traffic matters. It was also designed to increase the collection of traffic fines.

The system puts into an alarm list drivers with unsettled traffic violations. They need to pay the corresponding fines first before they can renew their vehicle registrations or licenses. (AH/Sunnex)