With the spotlight once again cast on unscrupulous towing personnel, motorists have been asking: What really is the official protocol that should be observed by MMDA-accredited towing companies? Here are 13 frequently asked questions about towing, with answers coming from the agency itself.
1. What are the different kinds of tow trucks recognized by MMDA?
There are two kinds of tow trucks recognized by MMDA:
* MMDA Road Emergency Group tow trucks - These are only allowed to tow stalled vehicles involved in accidents. The services of these trucks are free of charge.
* MMDA-accredited tow trucks - The personnel employed by these accredited tow truck companies are not employees of MMDA. To check the list of MMDA-accredited towing companies, please click here.
2. Under which situations can MMDA trucks tow vehicles?
Tow trucks can only tow the following vehicles:
* stalled vehicles
* illegally parked vehicles
* vehicles involved in accidents
3. Where does MMDA bring the towed vehicles?
Towed vehicles shall only be brought to the Ultra Impounding Area along Julia Vargas Avenue.
4. How does MMDA define stalled vehicles and illegally parked vehicles?
A stalled vehicle is a vehicle that--for some reason (engine trouble, empty fuel tank, flat tire)--is unable to proceed under its own motive power on a public road, street or thoroughfare in Metro Manila.
An illegally parked vehicle refers to one that is parked in areas prohibited by an existing law or ordinance for parking purposes, or those designated by the MMDA and/or the local government unit (LGU) as "no parking" areas or zones.
The following are two types of illegally parked vehicles:
* Attended illegally parked vehicle is an illegally parked vehicle whose driver is present or would appear at any time prior to the actual clamping to the tow truck, and who is willing and able to move out the illegally parked vehicle without delay.
* Unattended illegally parked vehicle is an illegally parked vehicle that does not fall under the definition of an attended illegally parked vehicle.
5. Which areas are prohibited for parking?
* All national roads in Metro Manila.
* Primary and secondary roads of cities and municipalities in Metro Manila that are: (a) within 6m of any intersection or curved lane; (b) within 4m of driveways or entrances to any fire station, hospital, clinic and other similar establishment; (c) within 4m of fire hydrants; (d) on the roadside of any legally parked vehicle; (e) on pedestrian crosswalks; (f) in front of any authorized driveway; (g) on the sidewalks, paths and alleys not intended for parking; (h) at the foot of or near bridges; (i) at any place where official signs have been erected prohibiting parking and/or declared a "no parking" zone by the MMDA, such as the Mabuhay Lanes; and (j) other areas duly declared as "no parking" zones provided by law or ordinance.
6. What’s the towing process for illegally parked vehicles?
If attended by a driver, illegally parked vehicles will not be towed, but a ticket shall be issued by a traffic constable (or deputized HPG officer).
If the vehicle is unattended, the tow truck driver shall blow the truck's horn five times to alert the owner, then another five times after one minute. If the driver does not respond by then, the vehicle shall be towed and the owner issued a ticket at the impounding area. A notice shall be left/entrusted to any traffic officer on duty in the area, or to any responsible person who can give the notice to the owner. The impounding area where the said vehicle shall be brought to and impounded should likewise be indicated in the notice.
7. What should I do if my vehicle is stalled due to a flat tire?
Vehicles with a flat tire must be moved to the emergency lane on its own. Otherwise, it will be towed. In either case, a traffic violation receipt (TVR) will be issued. Changing of flat tires on the roadway is not allowed.
8. What if my vehicle is stalled due to an empty fuel tank?
Stalled or illegally parked vehicles as a result of an empty fuel tank may be towed to the nearest gasoline station. However, a towing fee will be paid to the tow truck in accordance with the number of kilometers from the point of origin to the gasoline station. A TVR shall also be issued to the driver.
9. What if my vehicle is stalled due to engine trouble?
Stalled or illegally parked vehicles as a result of engine trouble shall be towed if it cannot move on its own, or if the driver refuses to move it. A TVR shall likewise be issued to the driver.
10. Are the towing crew members allowed to board an attended vehicle?
This is not allowed. If this happens when the driver is present, this must be taken note of and reported as a violation to the MMDA (via hotline 136).
11. How much is the violation and towing fee?
Any driver who shall illegally park his motor vehicle on any public road, street or thoroughfare in Metro Manila shall pay a fine of P500.
In addition, a standard towing fee shall be collected by both government and private entities subject to the following rates:
* Light vehicles (weighing less than 4,500kg) - P1,500 for the first 4km
* Medium vehicles (weighing between 4,501kg and 7,500kg) - P2,500 for the first 4km
* Heavy vehicles (weighing 7,501kg and above) - P4,500 for the first 4km
In all cases, an amount of P200 shall be charged per kilometer on top of the base fee, measured from pick-up point to the impounding area.
12. Who will be responsible for any damage obtained by the vehicle being towed?
The towing company/agency shall be held responsible for losses/damages incurred by the vehicle while it is being towed. Take note that before the actual towing, the tow truck crew shall issue a Technical Inspection Report indicating the name of the owner, vehicle’s plate number, type and color, accessories attached, and the vehicle’s condition.
13. How do I know if the towing service is accredited by MMDA?
MMDA and those accredited towing services adhere to a strict protocol as mentioned in the procedures above. Motorists must make sure that the tow truck personnel are wearing the prescribed uniform, with clearly visible ID cards. If unsure, they may call hotline 136 or check the list of accredited towing services. MMDA is rigorous and thorough in its screening and accreditation of towing companies to ensure that motorists are properly responded to. For any complaints, motorists can report to the MMDA Facebook or Twitter account. For urgent matters, they may call hotline 136.
Photo from Kokok Ongkeko De Vera