A lawmaker recently denounced the exorbitant fees being collected by private towing firms and the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) from the owners of stalled vehicles in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

Rep. Joseph Violago, (2nd District, Nueva Ecija), author of House Resolution 239, also urged the police and the Land Transportation Office to arrest the illegal towing service operating in Metro Manila.

He also urged the House Committee on Transportation to conduct a congressional probe into the alleged abuses and violations on towing guidelines by private towing companies and the MMDA towing group.

According to Violago, there are mounting complaints from motorist all over Metro Manila and nearby provinces on the alleged abuses committed by private towing companies and MMDA personnel.

Private towing services and the MMDA personnel are charging P4,500 towing fee for every stalled vehicle when the legal rate is only P1,200, there are even reports that some private towing service are charging more than P5,000 as fees for bigger and heavier vehicles like trucks.

Violago explains that there is a need to stop the "exorbitant and unreasonable" towing fees imposed by the MMDA and the local government on owners of stalled or double-parked vehicles.

Reports said the permits to operate of seven towing services in Metro Manila have already been cancelled by the MMDA

"The remaining 13 companies, according to media reports, were given temporary operating permits while undergoing evaluation by the MMDA," Violago said.

Violago also deplored the reported incident involving an alleged MMDA tow truck trying to tow a car near a stoplight where the car overstepped the pedestrian lane. Despite these initiatives and recent government actions, unauthorized towing service trucks, popularly described as "colorum", continue to victimize motorists especially in Metro Manila.

Rep. Violago urged the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to promulgate the necessary rules and guidelines on towing procedures and operations which should also be applied outside of Metro Manila.

"This situation concerning unchecked abuses of towing services that has plagued Metro Manila motorists for many years now, is also being experienced by motorists and traders in the provinces on their way to markets and other destinations," Violago said.

This situation calls for an urgent move to formulate the necessary amendments to existing rules and guidelines relative to towing and impounding activities of the private towing firms and the MMDA.