Beating the MMDA

Opening Point

I admit.  I’ve been a lurker to this site for some months, especially while I was away back in the US on business for six months.  I always got a chuckle out of the experiences here because I know most of them intimately.  Now that I’m back in the Philippines, I thought it might be useful to give some good advice about dealing with the MMDA pretend-a-cops, or any of the other “police” they have around here.

The Problem

You are doing nothing more than navigating your way through the worst drivers in the world.  Around you are people making illegal U-Turns, cutting people off, failing to use blinkers, and breaking every other common sense law of traffic imaginable.  But, because you don’t look Filipino, and someone with a blue shirt or a lime green shirt is feeling hungry, you get pulled over.  Already, you’re groaning, preparing to have that painful effort of trying to explain common sense in English to an greedy idiot who doesn’t come close to understanding you, even if he wanted to.  Welcome to driving in the Philippines.


You are more armed than they are

What these MMDA posers rely upon is the notion that you are clueless about the rules.  They expect that you just went down to LTO and got a quickie license.  However, as I have come to find repeatedly, they can’t stand up to the scrutiny of an informed Expat.  The more you know (and the info I’m about to give you) will get you out of just about any ticket….with only an enjoyable amount of yelling and a lot of laughing as you drive away from their confused looks.


The Big One

Ok, here’s the #1 way to get out of almost any ticket.  It’s actually a law the LTO came up with because their very own cops go out during off hours in uniform and give out fake tickets.  How’s that for ironic?  It’s called the “Order Of The Day”.  Yep, just like it sounds like, it’s a letter that’s supposed to be given out every single day that says the following:

  • They have permission to be at that location
  • They have permission to be at that location at that specific time
  • That they have permission to give out that specific kind of ticket at that location at that time.

As I mentioned, they are supposed to get one of these before every shift.  DO NOT CONFUSE THIS WITH THE GENERAL ORDERS THEY WILL TRY TO SHOW YOU.  That document is issued once per year, so just look at the date on it and correct them.

According to LTO regulation, if they do NOT have their “Order Of The Day”, they are not authorized to give you any ticket whatsoever, let alone take your license.

I have personally gotten out of dozens of tickets just using that fact alone.

Other Helpful Rules

  • Only LTO personnel (grey shirts) can give you a ticket for not wearing a seatbelt.
  • There is no such thing as “Swerving”, or anything related.  This especially goes for any claims that you did not enter a “right turn only” lane in time.
  • No more than ONE officer or MMDA can be present when stopping you.  If you see any others nearby your car, you can tell them that they’re in violation themselves, and you will file a complaint.  That helps a lot.
  • Call them on the racial/bribe thing.  Tell them that you will file a complaint.  Even if they didn’t ask for money, they get really “offended” and deny it, thus giving you an edge in the “discussion”.
  • Commonwealth Ave. in Manila is about the only place that uses radar guns, which also take a photo of your car and license plate.  Don’t speed there.  The ticket is binding.
  • I have heard that there are some police officers who will shoot you on site for arguing with them, and they know how to make a body disappear.  This likelihood would seem to be lessened by having witnesses.  Try to ride with a passenger when possible, and ONLY stop in very busy places with lots of traffic.
  • LTO and PNP have very strict rules about checkpoint stops.  Most notably, it has to have a VERY visible sign indicating that it’s a checkpoint and what it’s for.  If you just see a bunch of police standing around trying to stop people, and there’s no checkpoint signage anywhere, keep going.

Final Thoughts

Hope that helps people here as much as it’s helped me numerous times.  Granted, it’s sometimes taken me an hour to get out of a ticket, but I’ve never given up my license, and aside from that one ticket on Commonwealth Ave, I’ve never gotten failed to get out of a ticket/bribe attempt.


Published in Traffic In Philippines, Traffic Laws, Useful Information


    1. Profile gravatar of Hey Joe
      Hey Joe

      I could not find a reference to this (order of the day) at LTO web site. Could you provide a link please. Thanks.

      We had a issue with our A-hole neighbors some time back where they violated a illegal detainment law. (republic act 1084) They think MY driveway belongs to them to do as they please. So they thought it was a good idea to teach me a lesson by blocking the drive right to my gate so we could not get out. I was able to show the republic act and a print out. The PNP was called, the PNP officer was real nice to us after he saw what was done. I asked if this law applied and showing him my printout. He agreed they were in violation and gave them 10min to stop and clear out or all would go to jail (with hand on gun) as there were around 10 half drunk pinoys making a party out of me “learning a lesson” 🙂

      Never saw pinoys move so fast !!

      So I 100% agree with you @kaine that knowing the laws is a big advantage. And in my case a good cop that knows the law was huge. Yes.. not all are bad.

      So far so good,,, they stay WAY far away from me whenever I am out. Works for me. Just leave me alone is all I want from them.

  1. Profile gravatar of DanPal

    I don’t drive in Manila because I live in the Province. We do have traffic enforcers here as well. Around town proper I rarely drive but only drive when going out of town. It’s just more convenient and faster to go by tricycle and I do not mind the extra bit of walk I have to do. However, believe it or not, even when I am walking down a sidewalk the traffic enforcers still stop me! Not to cite me for some infraction are whatever, but to tell me it is their birthday or a family member is in the hospital. I do not give but that never stopped them from continuing the scams.
    One day, one traffic enforcer hit me up for money. I forgot the reason he gave but it just hit me the wrong way and I decided to fight fire with fire. I told the traffic enforcer that it was MY birthday and asked where is his cash gift to me. He was taken back by surprise and I repeated my demand. He told me that he had no money. I said, “Don’t you lie to me! Show me your wallet!” He took out his wallet and he was right, it was empty of cash. But I didn’t stop there. I started patting him down looking for money. I found about P60 in a pocked and showed it to him and said, “Shame on you! This is my birthday money now!” He said that was all he had and grabbed it back. I looked at him with a snarl on my face and said, “Don’t you ever ask me for birthday money again” Since then I’ve seen him around town. He has completely stopped asking for money,

  2. Profile gravatar of Penance
    Penance Post author

    If you search for “Philippines mission order traffic” in google, you’ll come up with some references to the “Mission Order”, which is what I mentioned (sorry, it’s not called “order of the day”, but I use that when arguing with them and it works). The following is a well-written article about protecting yourself at traffic stops. Remember…they almost NEVER go out with this mission order. It’s too much work to get one from their supervisor, rather than just go to their spot straight from home.

    Philippines Traffic & Vehicle Law Violations
    and Corresponding Penalties.
    Article by Brent Co of
    Ever been surprised by an apprehending traffic officer with a violation you haven’t heard of? Every motorist, at least once in his lifetime has been apprehended by a traffic officer. Sometimes, you are surprised by the apprehending officer with a “new” or improvised traffic violation, or at times it might be something real that you just haven’t heard of. Knowing the violations might save you money and trouble.
    There are also some instances of wrong apprehensions, like the very popular ‘driving without license’ violation. Do not allow the apprehending officer to get away with this, when you really have a license but did not bring it, this would only mean a failure to carry a driver’s license when operating motor vehicle with a fine of 150 pesos compared to 750 pesos for driving without license.
    Be calm and polite when confronted by a traffic officer. Shouting or yelling at them can also get you in trouble. There is a violation called “Arrogance or discourtesy towards a traffic officer” which will incur a 150 peso fine. If you are driving a car be sure to bring along with you your spare tire, as failure to do so will also result in a violation with a fine of 150 pesos.
    Bring along your early warning device or buy one if you don’t have one yet. This will save you 100 bucks and another 300 pesos if your car needs a little roadside repairs.
    Last but not least, please do remember to fasten your safety belts or be ready to pay 300 or even a 1000 pesos fine. Don’t forget that using your mobile phone, be it calling, answering a call, or texting is also a violation of the law unless you have a hands free kit installed. Texting is still not permitted even with the installation of a hands free kit since texting cannot be done hands free.

    Listed below are the traffic violations with corresponding penalties and subject of violation.

    A. Violations related to licensing
    Violations Penalties Subject
    1 Driving without license P 750.00 Driver
    2 Driving with delinquent, invalid. suspended, ineffectual, revoked or improper license P 300.00 Driver
    Failure to show or surrender driver’s license for cause upon due demand by person with authority to confiscate. P 150.00 Driver
    Failure to carry driver’s license when Operating motor vehicle. P 150.00 Driver
    Failure to sign driver’s license P 150.00 Driver
    4 Driving while under the influence of Liquor or prohibited drug P 2,000.00 Driver
    For the 2nd offense, Fine plus 1 year Suspension
    Subsequent violation Revocation of driver’s license
    5 Allowing an unlicensed/improperly licensed person to drive MV P 750.00 Owner/Operator
    6 Possession and use of fake driver’s license. If the driver has been issued an authentic license, the same shall be confiscated and suspended for 6 months in addition to the fine.
    If the driver has not been issued an authentic license, he shall not be qualified to secure driver’s license for a period of six (6) months in addition to the fine P 1500.00 Driver
    7 Allowing another person to use his driver’s license – confiscation and suspension for one (1) month P 500.00 Driver
    8 Use and involvement of MV by the driver in the commission of a crime-in case of court conviction, automatic revocation of driver’s license. P 1500.00 Driver
    9 Student Driver operating a MV without being accompanied by a licensed driver. P 200.00 Student Driver

    B. Violations related to registration.
    11 Operating a MV which is unregistered/improperly registered delinquent or with invalid registration. If driver is also the Owner, MV shall be impounded until Properly registered P 450.00
    P 450.00 Driver
    12 Operating MV with unregistered substitute or replacement engine, engine block or chassis, change color, change body or configuration. In addition, MV shall be properly impounded until such parts are properly registered. P 500.00 Owner
    13 Failure to carry in the MV the Certificate of Registration (CR) and Official Receipt (OR) (original or Photocopies) P 150.00 Owner
    14 Operating/allowing the operation of MV with a suspended/revoked Certificate of Registration, P 450.00
    MV impounded or its plates held during period of suspension / Revocation
    15 Tourist Operating a non-Philippine registered MV beyond 90 day period of his sojourn. P 1500.00
    MV shall not be allowed to operate until properly registered. Tourist

    C. Violations relating to number plates and stickers.
    16 MV number plates not firmly attached and visible. Dirty or uncared for plates.
    Inconspicuously displaced plates in front and rear. NO STICKER showing current Registration P 150.00 Driver
    17 License plates different from body Operator number on Public Utility Vehicle P 450.00 Owner
    18 Improper display of MV plates by owner (permanent) plates to accommodate a better display of commemorative/other plates. P 500.00 Owner
    19 Display of expired commemorative/other plates P 200.00 Owner
    20 Tampered/Marked plates/stickers P 300.00 Owner
    21 a. Illegal transfer and use of MV plates/tags or stickers from one MV to another except security plates on authorized vehicle Owner/Operator are conclusively presumed to have caused or permit such illegal transfer and liable to fine.
    Driver of MV involved in illegal transfer of plates 1 month suspension of driver’s license.

    P 7500.00 Driver

    b. If MV is used and involved in commission of a crime, P 10000.00
    Penalty plus motor vehicle impounded. Driver/Owner

    D. Violations relative to equipment, parts, accessories, devices and marking of a motor vehicle
    22 Operating MV with metallic tires on any public highway,
    Defective brakes,
    Improper/defective horn or signaling device,
    Unnecessary lights visible in front of vehicle,
    Missing or defective headlights/taillights,
    Missing or red rear lights at both/each, side visible at least 100m from vehicle,
    Missing or defective plate light,
    Missing or defective brake lights,
    Missing or defective wiper on the windshield,
    Missing cut/disconnected muffler. P 150.00 each Driver
    23 Dirty/unsightly or dilapidated MV. In addition, confiscation of plates until defects are corrected P 150.00 Owner/Operator
    24 Failure to paint or improper painting of authorized route or painting of unauthorized route of PUJ P 375.00 Owner/Operator
    25 Non-painting of business or trade name. P 150.00
    Confiscation of plates until defects are corrected. Owner
    26 a. Use of unauthorized improvised plates
    b. Use of improvised plates to make MV appear as for hire. P 150.00
    P 1,500.00 Owner
    27 a. Dirty and/or unsanitary defective unit
    b. Without/defective hand brakes
    c. Without or defective speedometer or tachometer
    d. Defective or broken windshield
    e. Without or defective windshield wiper
    f. Without rear view mirror
    g. Without interior light P 150.00 Owner/Operator
    28 Without name or business name and address inscribed on both sides of MV used for public services. P 150.00
    Confiscation of plates until proper markings are made. Owner/Operator
    29 Without spare tire P 150.00 Owner/Operator
    30 Unauthorized bell sirens or exhausts whistle on emergency. P 150.00
    Said gadgets shall be confiscated. Owner/Operator
    31 Without red flag or red lights on projecting end of load extending more than a meter beyond the bed or body and in the evening, red lights visible at least 50 meters away P 150.00 Driver
    32 Failure to paint appropriate body number on a MV for hire on both sides P 375.00 Owner/Operator
    33 a. Failure to carry EWD
    b. Failure to install EWD 4 meters away to the front and rear of the stalled/disabled MV. P 100.00
    P 300.00 Driver
    34 Without capacity markings P 150.00 Owner/Operator
    35 Failure to wear safety belt while operating motor vehicle or while riding on front passenger seat P 1000.00
    P 300.00 Owner/Operator
    36 Without permanent tail gauge or failure to put “NOT FOR HIRE” sign in a private jeepney/jitney P 300.00 Owner

    E. Violations relative to weights and load limits.
    37 Load extending beyond projected width without permit 200.00 Driver
    38 a. Operating MV with wheel axle, or axle group loads in excess of the limits in Sec. 9, RA 4136 or any regulation without permit. P 150.00 Driver
    b. Operating MV with total weight of cargo carrying device on passenger truck including cargo exceeding 100 kilos. P 150.00 Driver
    c. Allowing more passengers and/or more freight or cargo in his vehicle more than the registered carrying capacity. P 150.00 Driver (If PUV, imposed upon Conductor)
    d. Baggage or freight carried on top of truck exceeds 20 kilos per sq. meter and not distributed in such a manner as not to endanger the passenger or stability of the truck. P 150.00 Driver/Conductor

    F. Violations relative to frauds and falsities
    39 Use of invalid/ delinquent/ suspended/ revoked/ fake license, identification card or permit. P 1000.00 to
    P 3000.000 Driver
    40 Fake CR, OR, plates, tags or stickers/spurious documents P 1000.00 to
    P 3000.000 Owner/Operator
    41 Misrepresenting a copy of a document before the Traffic Adjudication Service P 1000.00 Owner/Operator/

    G. Violations related to parking and drivers
    42 Parking within an intersection
    Parking on a crosswalk
    Parking within 5 m. of the intersection of the intersection of curb lines
    Parking within 4 m. of the driveway entrance to any fire station
    Parking within 4 m. of a fire hydrant
    Parking in front of a private highway
    Parking on the roadway side of any unmoving or parked at the curb or edge of the highway
    Parking at any place where official signs of prohibition have been erected
    Allowing a passenger on top or cover of vehicle
    Allowing a passenger to ride on running board, step board or
    mudguard of MV while it is in motion
    Disregarding traffic signs
    Failure to use helmet while driving/riding a motorcycle P 150.00 each Driver
    43 Reckless Driving
    – 1st Offense
    – 2nd Offense and suspension of Driver’s License
    – 3rd Offense and revocation of Driver’s License
    P 150.00
    P 750.00
    P 1000.00 Driver
    44 Arrogance or Discourtesy P 150.00 Driver
    45 Failure to dim headlights P 150.00 Driver
    46 Driving in slippers or sleeveless shirt P 100.00 Driver
    47 Driving in a place not for traffic or parking in a place not for parking
    Failure to give way to police or fire department vehicle or ambulance
    Hitching or permitting a person on a bicycle or roller skates to hitch
    to the vehicl. P 100.00 Driver

    H. Traffic Violations
    48 Illegal turn P 150.00 Driver
    49 Driving against traffic/counterflow P 2000.00 Driver
    50 Illegal overtaking P 150.00 Driver
    51 Overtaking at an unsafe distance P 150.00 Driver
    52 Cutting an overtaken vehicle P 150.00 Driver
    53 Failure to give way to an overtaking vehicle P 150.00 Driver
    54 Increasing speed when being overtaken P 150.00 Driver
    55 Overtaking when left side is not visible or clear P 150.00 Driver
    56 Overtaking on a crest or grade P 150.00 Driver
    57 Overtaking on a curve P 150.00 Driver
    58 Overtaking at a railway grade crossing P 150.00 Driver
    59 Overtaking at an intersection P 150.00 Driver
    60 Overtaking between “Men Working” or “Caution” signs P 150.00 Driver
    61 Failure to yield to the right of way P 150.00 Driver
    62 Failure to come to a complete stop at a through street P 150.00 Driver
    63 Failure to come to a complete stop at a stop intersection P 150.00 Driver
    64 Failure to give proper turn/stop signals P 150.00 Driver
    65 Illegal right turn P 150.00 Driver
    66 Illegal left turn P 150.00 Driver
    67 Failure to stop motor vehicle and apply handbrake when unattended P 150.00 Driver
    68 Causing an obstruction to traffic P 150.00 Driver


    I just reached my limit last weekend, and decided to take action against the abusive MMDA enforcers. I basically called up the MMDA head office and inquired from the Personnel Officer, Antonio Pagulayan, to clarify their policies. Here is what I got:

    If any of these abuses seem familiar to you, Mr. Pagulayan has asked that you call either the MMDA hotline (136) or call the METRO BASE at 0920 9389861 or 0920 9389875 and ask for an Inspectorate. They will send inspectors to the place where these MMDA officers are extorting, even while you are arguing out of your apprehension. DO NOT JUST SURRENDER YOUR RIGHT AND PAY OFF THE MMDA TRAFFIC OFFICER, CHALLENGE (if you have sound basis of course) THE TRAFFIC CITATION:

    1. MMDA officers are not allowed to group together in order to apprehend. They are not even allowed to stand together in groups of 2 or more. The only time they are allowed to work together is for special operations (probably when they apprehend groups of buses for smoke belching).

    2. Swerving IS NOT a traffic violation. Moving one lane to the left or right is not swerving, no matter where on the road you do it. And it is even less of a violation when you do it with a signal. Swerving is defined as shifting 2 or more lanes very quickly. So you can argue your way out of this, and call the Metro Base for help.

    3. Sadly, using the yellow lane is a traffic violation and will get you a ticket. However, buses are really not allowed to go out of the yellow lane, so if you see selective apprehension of private cars only, you may complain.

    4. MMDA has confirmed that your license MAY NOT BE CONFISCATED at a traffic apprehension. The only time they can do so is if you are part of an accident, or it is your third violation and you have not settled your fines yet. They are only allowed to give you a ticket, which you can contest. He recommends actually receiving the ticket in some instances, so that you can report the officer who did it.

    5. Also, you are free to ask any of these officers for their “mission order”, which is written by their supervisor. If they apprehend you for a violation that is not in their mission order for the day, you can report them and they will receive disciplinary action.

    Must Know: MMDA rules on Car Number-Coding

    1. No window hours: Makati, Malabon and Las Pinas. Number Coding is in effect from 7am to 7pm!

    2. No number coding: Taguig, Marikina and Paranaque. So, feel free to roam around these cities anytime.

    3. Pasig City has window hours of 9am to 4pm (note the 1 hour additional to the normal 10-3pm window).

    4. San Juan has window hours now according to MMDA website.

    5. Pasay City is implementing Number Coding except on the following roads: Ninoy Aquino Avenue, MIA Road, Domestic Road, Portions of Airport Road , Sales Road , Tramo.

    6. EDSA, C5, Pres. Diosdado Macapagal Avenue, Roxas Blvd (Pasay) have window hours regardless of the city (meaning one can drive via EDSA in Makati any day).

    7. For the rest of Metro Manila (Caloocan, Mandaluyong, Manila, Muntinlupa, Navotas, parts of Pasay, Pateros, Quezon City, Taguig, and Valenzuela) number coding is in effect (window hours of 10am-3pm is also observed).

      1. Profile gravatar of TheD

        Why dont you create a type of fact sheet section of the website so that when interesting posts and comments come up, you can stick them in there and make them real easy to find. A kind of street guide to the city and laws.

        1. Profile gravatar of Captain PFB
          Captain PFB

          I’ve created a category “Useful Information” and will link it in the navigation bar. All posts like this will be placed in that category, and when they click that link, all these “useful information” posts will come up.

          1. Profile gravatar of Penance
            Penance Post author

            I’d like to suggest to break down the “Useful Information” into a sub-menu with categories. Theres just SO MUCH to write about! It might be helpful to start off organized.

          2. Profile gravatar of Captain PFB
            Captain PFB

            I will, when there is more useful information posts put up. Right now, thanks to you, we have one sub category of useful information. More! more! And thank you! It’s what this blog needed!

  3. Profile gravatar of TheD

    I had hired a driver and car and was smoking with the window open. The officer flagged us down and I wound down my window.
    I am always as nice as pie to these people. It reminds me of the joke “What do you call a gorilla with a machine gun? Sir!”
    Now, this was early in the morning and the first instruction I gave to the driver was to find a Starbucks. Do not fuck with me before my 3rd coffee of the morning.
    The officer pointed to my cigarette and said I was smoking “Yes I am” was my reply.
    He informed me that I was littering and I pointed to my cigarette that had still not yet been flicked.
    He told me that I intended to litter and I asked if he was Tom Cruse in Minority Report as this was a future crime.
    I turned my cigarette packet upside down, all of them fell to the floor and I flicked my ash in my empty cigarette packet, informing him that it was my ashtray.
    The officer then asked “do you have chocolates?”
    “no” I said, closing the window and instructing the driver to continue.
    The fucking nerve of these people.

  4. Profile gravatar of Penance
    Penance Post author


    In my article here, I found I had to correct myself. Please replace the majority of “LTO” with “MMDA”, and the article will be much more accurate.