A Guide to Car Towing in the Philippines
In a country brimming with thousands of private cars and public utility vehicles that congest the main roads each day, there is nothing more inconvenient than finding out that your car was towed away by the government for the imposition of penalties.
Incidents with law enforcers are often viewed by motorists as their “moment of reckoning,” trying to find out whether their automobiles were, in fact, illegally parked someplace along highways in the Metro or not.
Keeping oneself from stressful arguments is indeed wise. But knowing what to do and what the government cannot do with your car can be a plus. Otherwise, it could be too problematic.
In 2018, the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has vowed to strengthen its guidelines on towing and impounding operations, following the apprehension of an illegal towing company that created public outrage. They said there will be stricter towing guidelines and detailed proper towing procedures to assist the public.
Reasons of towing
It stressed that the MMDA tow trucks can tow stalled vehicles, illegally parked vehicles, and vehicles involved in accidents.
As of April 2018, there are over 30 towing companies with provisional authority to tow cars in the Metro. Find the list here.
MMDA defines stalled vehicles as those which are unable to move or are stuck on the road due to engine trouble, empty fuel tank, flat tires, among others.
On the other hand, illegally-parked vehicles refer to those which are parked in areas prohibited by existing law or ordinance for parking purposes or those designated by the MMDA and/or the local government units (LGUs) as NO PARKING areas or zones.
There are two types of illegally-parked vehicles:
- “Attended illegally parked vehicle” – one 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” – an illegally parked vehicle that does not fall under the definition of attended illegally parked vehicle.
Kinds of tow trucks
In its guidelines, the MMDA emphasizes that car owners should know the two kinds of tow trucks allowed by the agency:
- MMDA Road Emergency Group (REG) tow trucks
- MMDA-accredited tow trucks
The agency’s REG tow trucks are the only ones allowed to tow stalled vehicles involved in accidents, which services, according to MMDA, are free of charge. Meanwhile, the MMDA-accredited tow trucks can operate in other situations that the REG tow trucks cannot assist.
MMDA explains that if the car is attended by the driver, illegally parked vehicles will not be towed but a traffic violation receipt, considered by many as tickets, shall be issued by a traffic officer or a member of MMDA’s Highway Patrol Group.
However, MMDA states: “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 issued a ticket at the impounding area.”
Upon towing, they usually bring the towed cars in ULTRA Impounding Area along Julia Vargas Ave. Ortigas, Pasig City, or in a separate impounding area in Tumana, Marikina City.
Fines and Towing Fees
Any driver who illegally parked his/her car on any public road, street or thoroughfare in Metro Manila shall pay a fine.
Just this year, MMDA remained firm in their push to raise fines starting January. The fines for attended illegal parking were raised to Php 1,000 from Php 200, while that of unattended illegal parking was pushed up to Php 2,000 from Php 500.
Violators may be issued traffic violation tickets up to twice a day, with a three-hour interval between issuances.
MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago expressed that MMDA can also issue a new ticket to an erring motorist every three hours if the driver fails to move out the vehicle after being notified of the violation.
Aside from the fine, a standard towing fee shall be collected by both government and private entities subject to the following rates:
- Light vehicles (weighing less than 4500 kg) – Php 1,500 for the first four km
- Medium vehicles (weighing between 4501 kg and 7500 kg) – Php 2,500 for the first four km
- Heavy vehicles (weighing 7501 kg and above) Php 4,500 for the first four km
In all cases, Php 200 shall be charged for each succeeding kilometer from the place of towing to the impounding area.
Before the actual towing, the concerned driver shall indicate his/her name, vehicle’s plate number, type and color, including the accessories thereof, and a description of the vehicle’s condition in a Technical Inspection Report that shall be issued by the tow truck crew.
In order to prevent car owners from troublesome incidents, the MMDA has designated places as no waiting/no parking zones around the Metro. The agency shall consider the car as illegally parked if it is anywhere near the following:
- All National roads in Metro Manila.
- In primary and secondary roads of cities and municipalities in Metro Manila that are:
- Within six (6) meters of any intersection or curved lane
- Within four (4) meters of driveways or entrances to any fire station, hospital, clinic, and other similar establishments
- Within four (4) meters of hydrants
- On the roadside of any illegally parked vehicle
- On pedestrian crosswalks
- In front of any authorized driveway
- On the sidewalks, paths, and alleys not intended for parking
- At the foot or near bridges
- At any place where official signs have been erected prohibiting parking and/or declared No Parking Zone by the MMDA such as the Mabuhay Lanes. For your reference, click here
- Other areas duly declared as “NO PARKING ZONE” provided by law or ordinances
So there you have it—if your car gets towed, it would be wiser to: swallow the hard pill and accept the fact that you illegally parked, be rational and keep one’s cool, pay the necessary fines for the violation, and know your rights.
And if the traffic officer does something inappropriate, let the MMDA know through Hotline 136.