Supreme Court temporarily halts implementation of no contact policy

·Contributor
·2 min read
Heavy traffic is pictured along Marcos Highway, as motorists queue for a checkpoint on the first day of the Philippine capital's reimplementation of a stricter lockdown to curb COVID-19 infections, in Marikina City, Metro Manila, Philippines, August 4, 2020. The Supreme Court temporarily suspended No Contact Apprehension Program (NCAP) that aims to enforce traffic rules through traffic management technology. (Photo: REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez)
Heavy traffic is pictured along Marcos Highway, as motorists queue for a checkpoint on the first day of the Philippine capital's reimplementation of a stricter lockdown to curb COVID-19 infections, in Marikina City, Metro Manila, Philippines, August 4, 2020. The Supreme Court temporarily suspended No Contact Apprehension Program (NCAP) that aims to enforce traffic rules through traffic management technology. (Photo: REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez)

The Supreme Court (SC) has issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the No Contact Apprehension Program (NCAP) of some cities in Metro Manila.

The issuance of a TRO was due to the two pending lawsuits filed before the SC, challenging the constitutionality of the said program.

In a briefer issued on Tuesday (August 30), the high court said that the TRO is “effective immediately, and until further orders from the Court.”

“Any apprehensions through the NCAP programs and ordinances related thereto shall be prohibited until further orders from the Court,” the SC briefer read.

The two petitions were filed by several transport groups like Kilusan sa Pagbabago ng Industriya ng Transportasyon Inc. (KAPIT), Pangkalahatang Sangguniang Manila and Suburbs Drivers Association Nationwide (Pasang-Masda), Alliance of Transport Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (ALTODAP), and Alliance of Concerned Transport Organization (ACTO), and by lawyer Juman B. Paa.

The oral argument is set on January 23, 2023.

The NCAP is a program by several local government units and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) that aims to enforce traffic rules through traffic management technology, including advanced camera systems operated by a computer vision artificial intelligence.

The program, before being temporarily suspended, is currently being implemented in five cities: Quezon City, Manila, Valenzuela, Muntinlupa, and Parañaque.

Meanwhile, data from Manila Police District in 2021 showed that traffic violations and road accidents in the city of Manila had drastically gone down by 90% and 62%, respectively, since the implementation of NCAP.

“The evidence shows that NCAP keeps traffic flowing smoother and faster and keeps motorists, bicycle users, and pedestrians safe on the city roads and streets,” Manila Mayor Honey Lacuna said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Most importantly, the abundance of data shows that the NCAP is quite effective in keeping city traffic smooth and efficient while also protecting the safety of pedestrians and motorists,” the Manila mayor added.

Despite this, Lacuna said that they will heed the TRO issued by the SC, and will field more traffic enforcers in the coming days following the suspension of the program.

Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments on politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. Follow him on Twitter at @marvs30ang for latest news and updates. The views expressed are his own.

Watch more videos on Yahoo: