I had another run in with the MAPSA recently, completely unjustified and therefore undeserving of my attention. I would usually at the least discuss it with the officer, but I had little patience with this organization due to a bribery run-in (I sent him packing empty handed) and an incident that happened last September. Plus I was having a bad day. Fortunately I was driving a vehicle that is both impossible to tow and intimidating. Let me make some things explicitly clear (researched online):
1) Unless you plowed into a person or vehicle, disregarded previous ticketed violations, or are in fear of your life, you do NOT have to give your license to a MAPSA officer. Please do not make the regrettable mistake of confusing MAPSA (yellow) with Police (blue). The latter can take your license and will make your life miserable.
2) You can be fined for using your cell phone (non-hands free) while driving. Do not bother arguing this one.
3) MMDA officers cannot group together to apprehend you. As unlikely as it sounds, you can argue and win this claim.
4) There is apparently an auction every Monday of the month. This takes care of cars abandoned or left at the impound for more than 6 months. Of course these auctions (I have tried) are hard to find, poorly advertised, and almost devoid of all good cars. The Vehicle Auction is also known as the public officials S and R.. Only government ID's accepted.
5) Swerving is not a traffic violation so long as you do not make drastic cuts across two lanes or more. Sneaking briefly into the yellow line section will get you a ticket. Note, this law does not apply to reckless PUJ or Bus drivers.
6) Do not pay bribes, it reinforces poor values and makes you an embarrassment to your country.
This brings me to my MMDA story. I am including a letter I wrote last September, where I felt the officer was being unreasonable and deserving of correction. I would like to share it because it is still unresolved and illustrates what we drivers put up with on a daily basis. The charge: I parked my car on purpose beneath a street light for safety, it so happened that in doing so I straddled two white “parallel parking slots” which were invalid anyway as it was past 7pm. The officer towed me anyway with a parking charge at 7:30pm.
I would like to express my concern over a situation that has left me irate and disheartened about the MAPSA officers that operate within Makati. I feel that it is my responsibility to share my experience/opinion in the hope that it will contribute to better service from the Makati City organizations...Receiving an unwarranted fine is not as bit a concern as the fact that the person who was supposed to assist citizens to make us feel safer, to make sure that those who follow laws are not taken advantage of by those who do not-- was not at all interested in my situation. He had a ticket and he wanted to use it. I am a citizen of this country and a resident of Makati City. I use my company to employ Filipinos and to contribute to the economy. I strive to create and maintain a respectable, ethical and socially responsible international image for my country. I pay taxes, contribute my time to local community efforts, assist in government directives, and take pride in watching my country develop into the Philippines we all know it can be. It irritates me to be preyed upon by individuals that treat their organization as a means to generate revenue, where reasonable explanations and citizens who genuinely try to follow laws are overlooked. Where his time and effort as a public officer is more important than my time and effort as a Makati resident. I told this MAPSA official that I preferred to watch my vehicle be towed than to accept his ticket and pay a fine. This is about the principle and my distrust towards an organization that is designed to service and protect me...I hope that this letter can make a difference... I feel that overall MAPSA is doing a good job keeping order. It is unfortunate that one officer can taint an opinion so quickly.
I mailed this out to Mayor Binay and Director San Miguel, both of whom responded promptly by studying and supporting my complaint, reinstating my vehicle, and handing me a receipt to reimburse my ticket and towing expense (as is expected). It has now been 6 months since the incident and each time I send someone to collect the reimbursed cash, they are still “waiting for the officer to return to the station.” I suppose he is on sabbatical, or possibly traveling the world with my 1200 pesos. It is unfortunate and petty, as I would have had my confidence reinstated in the MAPSA had they done the correct thing. Again, we are facing an organization that is more talk then action. Herein lies the root problem of the Philippines, manifested in an overrated and redundant organization. For those of us that want change in the country, we will need to just hike up our skirts and do it ourselves.