A Handy Guide To Towing Laws In The Philippines5 min. read
You’re driving along, with Waze telling you the roads are smooth and easy when you come upon an unexpected traffic jam. What happened? A stalled car is slowly being pulled away by a tow truck. Or, maybe you’ve experienced being that unfortunate person standing next to a disabled vehicle waiting for the tow truck.
While proper maintenance and care can keep your vehicle running smoothly for years to come, it’s the rare motorist who won’t need a tow truck once or twice in their driving life.
Sooner or later, you will need to call a knight in shining tow truck to rescue you from obstructing traffic. Before that day even happens, you should know more about towing and the scenarios that could lead to your car being hauled by a tow truck.
What are the instances when you can get your car towed?
There are three main reasons you can have your car towed:
- Stalled vehicles, or when your car won’t move on its own and stopped in the middle of a road;
- Illegally parked vehicles; and
- Vehicles involved in an accident
Who are the entities authorized to perform towing duties?
In Metro Manila, two entities are authorized by the government to tow vehicles:
- The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA). They have a fleet of tow trucks, but these are only allowed to tow “stalled vehicles involved in accidents”; and
- Other towing companies accredited by the MMDA for other reasons.
What is the difference between stalled vehicles and illegally parked vehicles?
If your car stops in the middle of the road, regardless of whether it’s an overheated engine, a flat tire, or some other mechanical problem, you are a stalled vehicle and considered a traffic disruption.
If you can’t move your car to the designated emergency bays regardless of the reason, your vehicle will be towed and as a bonus, you’ll also get a traffic violation receipt.
Meanwhile, illegal parking is pretty obvious. While the government and some private companies can prescribe areas where you can park your vehicle, the MMDA has assigned portions of the road where parking is not allowed at all times. They are the following:
- All national roads in Metro Manila.
- Primary and secondary roads of cities and municipalities in Metro Manila that are: a. Within six meters of any intersection or curved lane;
- Within four meters of driveways or entrances to any fire station, hospital, clinic and other similar establishments;
- Within four meters of fire hydrants;
- On the roadside of any legally 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; and
- Other areas duly declared as “no parking zone” provided by law or ordinances.
How much is the penalty for the violation and the towing fee?
For stalled or illegally parked vehicles, their owners will be issued with a TVR with a corresponding penalty of P500.
You will also have to pay for the expenses of having your car moved by tow trucks. Based on your vehicle’s weight, you’ll be charged with the following:
- Light vehicles (weighing less than 4,500 kg) – P 1,500 for the first four kilometers
- Medium vehicles (weighing between 4501 kg and 7500 kg) – P 2,500 for the first four kilometers
- Heavy vehicles (weighing 7501 kg and above) – P 4,500 for the first four kilometers
After the first four kilometers, owners of towed vehicles will be charged with P200 for every kilometer succeeding from the area where their car was towed to the impounding area.
If, however, you need your vehicle towed because it was involved in an accident, the MMDA will move them out of the way free of charge.
Where are the impounding areas for towed vehicles?
If your vehicle is towed, you can find them at the following MMDA impounding areas:
- MMDA Tumana impounding lot, Tumana, Marikina City
- MMDA ULTRA 2 impounding lot, Julia Vargas Street, Ugong, Pasig City
Aside from the MMDA trucks, which companies are accredited to tow vehicles?
We compiled a list of the best towing companies in Metro Manila and their respective contact details. You can check the article here.
Meanwhile, for the full list of MMDA-accredited towing agencies, click here.
What is the proper procedure when it comes to towing?
The MMDA issued a strict set of guidelines for towing companies when hauling a vehicle from an obstructive position. Based on their guidelines, both the authorities and the drivers should follow the following procedures:
- A car with a flat tire should be moved to the emergency bay or he’ll be towed.
- For vehicles stalled due to empty fuel tanks, they will be towed to the nearest gas station and they’ll be charged with the towing fee based on the distance as well as receive a TVR from the traffic constable.
- Vehicles with engine troubles, if not moved to the side of the road, will be towed outright and the driver slapped with a TVR.
- For unattended vehicles parked illegally, the tow truck driver will blow the horn five times to alert the owner. If there is no response after a minute, the tow truck will once again call the attention of the driver by blowing the horn five times. If there still is no response, then the vehicle will be towed. A notice will be given to the owner by the traffic officer on duty in the area.
Are tow truck operators allowed to go inside your vehicle?
Absolutely not. If there are indications that the tow truck operators entered your car or you caught them in the act of doing so, call the MMDA hotline 163.
Who will be responsible for the damages to the car during towing?
Generally, the towing company will be responsible if there are any damages done to the car during the towing process. To prevent people from abusing them, tow truck operators create a technical inspection report that records the vehicle’s condition as well as basic details such as owner’s name, make, model, color, plate number, accessories, and other details.
Is there a way for me to get free towing?
If you think towing is too expensive for you, worry not. Fortunately, some car insurance companies offer free towing services to people who bought comprehensive car insurance from them. Aside from free towing, there also are other freebies that can make your driving more convenient.