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It took me almost 2 weeks before I was able to renew my Driver’s License last January 20, 2009 because of an alleged traffic violation last 2006 which I have contested with MMDA after being flagged by an Ortigas Center Police at the Exchange Road near Tektite for Counter-Flowing at 2AM.

I came from an overtime work at a nearby food-beverage company then and I took the road because I wanted to go to the nearest ATM as I exited the company gate. It was dark then that I was surprised as I passed this narrow street that eight security guards uniformed as Ortigas Center Police flagged me down.

I stopped and pulled over. I was being asked to surrender my Driver’s License without even being told of my violation. It was my first ever violation since I started driving in 1993 and got my Driver’s License in 1999. I pleaded so I was asked instead to pay a penalty of P3000.00 for Counter-Flowing.

As a result, I would be spared from having my license confiscated and undergoing a traffic discipline seminar plus having to spend time settling the traffic ticket. I was a busy person then so I agreed. I asked for the traffic ticket and had it photocopied in our office and paid the said amount to the guard with Payment Receipt I made.

After that incident, I have heard nothing and so I continued living and driving as always until it was time for me to renew my license that I got into this mess. I was rejected by the License Renewal Center at SM Megamall because of an unsettled traffic ticket. I was puzzled until I remembered the incident I had 3 years back.

Because I was working and taking a leave was a little difficult, it took me 2 weeks to settle the ticket. I appealed and contested the violation but I was advised that my complaint and affidavit that I have paid the deputized guard to settle my violation will for sure take time.

More so, I was told that I was in the wrong side because the mere fact that I have chosen to let the deputized officer pay in my behalf was actually a form of bribery because the instruction is clear that tickets are paid through banks. In my will to shortcut things, I got it all in the long cut. Hmp.

The MMDA officer tried to check the record but found none to my name. I could have been cleared but then they reasoned that it would take some time to retrieve a 3 year old record as it could have been misfiled elsewhere. Thus, I was advised to just pay the penalty for P3000.00.

So I did but I had to fall in line the entire day just to get a clearance so I could finally settle and pay the penalty. My patience was tested as people from all walks of life made the line long. Most of them are complaining and contesting their violations and some were first time violators.

There I have realized that MMDA is indeed making money. Imagine the number of drivers around plying the streets and the inadequacy of some agencies concerned in educating people and even putting adequate traffic signage to guide motorists. Instead of implementing traffic rules, the act of apprehending drivers has become an internal contest among traffic enforcers because either they earn from meeting their quota or from bribery and settlements.

More so, I have seen the need for MMDA to centralize its records and introduce a better automated solution to their business process. Being an IT Professional, I even chatted with an MMDA director as they have been locating my record. I have given my observation that indeed they need to automate to make their jobs easier and to deliver services to the people faster.

After an entire day of falling in line and appealing to various departments, I finally got a clearance that says I am already free from any alarms. Thus, I had to rush to the nearest License Renewal Center and it took me an hour to complete the procedure. LTO is better automated than MMDA. Hehehe.

From then on, I have taken extra caution driving with or without traffic enforcers around not just because of the fines and penalty but because I fear of having the same trouble of renewing my Driver’s License come 2011. This is an added reason why we all need to obey traffic rules by heart! Hehehe. Cheers!