To Tow or Not To Tow


In light of the recent illegal towing incident in Quezon City, a lot of questions were raised about the government’s policies on towing vehicles.  Towing is a rampant practice in the metropolis; its purpose is to clear major and side roads of illegally parked vehicles that cause traffic build-up, especially during rush hours.  However, based on recent and previous stories gathered from the news and social media, a lot of ruthless individuals have used vehicle towing as a means to cash in a few thousand bucks from vehicle owners who happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time (and sometimes for the wrong reasons).

What are the policies on towing a vehicle?  Where does the authority of the towing company end and the rights of the vehicle owner begin?  Can a vehicle owner actually stop a tow truck from taking his car when he offers to simply pay the fine for his traffic violation?  Are towing personnel allowed to ask for the car keys and drive the towed vehicle to the impounding area?

Let’s find out from the MMDA’s Resolution on Towing and Impounding Operations.

MMDA Resolution No. 02-33

For those asking, the best reference we have about towing and impounding of vehicles is the MMDA Resolution No. 02-33 that can be accessed here.  This has been amended by Memorandum Circular No. 9 Series of 2010 to show additional guidelines directed to towing companies.  So that if you are interested to find out how and why your vehicle is being towed, you may refer to MMDA Resolution No. 02-33; while Memorandum Circular No. 9 s. 2010 covers the guidelines for towing companies outsourced by the government.

Why is your vehicle being towed?

Reading through the accounts of vehicle owners whose cars and vans have been towed, one will notice a common claim, “We didn’t know we were parked in a tow-away zone. There were no signs around!”


Based on the said MMDA Memorandum, “stalled” and “illegally parked” vehicles can be towed anytime.

A stalled vehicle means any motor vehicle which for any cause is unable to proceed under its own motive power and is on a public road, street, or thoroughfare and dilapidated/junked vehicles in Metro Manila.

An illegally parked vehicle is one that is parked in areas prohibited by existing laws or ordinance for parking purposes or those designated by the Authority and or the local government units (LGUs) as NO PARKING areas or zones.

These zones, according to the MMDA, are the following:

  • Within six (6) meters of any intersection or curved lane;
  • Within four (4) meters of driveway or entrances to any fire station, hospital, clinic and other similar establishment;
  • Within four (4) meters of fire hydrants;
  • On the roadside of any legally parked vehicle;
  • On pedestrian crosswalks;
  • In front of any authorized driveway.

Illegally parked vehicles are either attended (meaning the driver is in the car or is present in the area) and unattended (driver is nowhere to be found).

If your vehicle is attended illegally parked, your vehicle must not be towed; instead, the driver shall be immediately issued a TVR.  While unattended illegally parked vehicles shall be towed and issued a TVR immediately upon arrival at the impounding area.

What if I have a flat tire and need to stop?

  • Flat-tired vehicle must be moved to the emergency lane on its own, if not, it will be towed.  In either case, a TVR shall be issued.
  • Changing of flat tires on the roadway is not allowed.
  • Stalled or illegally parked vehicle as a result of empty fuel tank, may be towed to the nearest gasoline station.  A TVR shall be issued to the driver.
  • Stalled or illegally parked vehicle as a result of engine trouble shall be towed if the driver deliberately refuses to remove his vehicle or cannot move his vehicle due to the absence of equipment.  For circumstances beyond his control, a TVR shall be issued to the driver.

If your car is already clamped to the tow truck, you can no longer intercept the towing.  You will have to proceed to the impounding area to claim your vehicle.

How do I know if the towing personnel / team are legit and recognized by the MMDA?

The MMDA’s policies on tow trucks crew and personnel are the following:

  • Personnel or crew must wear identification cards of their company / office, prescribed uniforms, shoes, and have short hair cuts.
  • Exercise utmost courtesy and observe proper decorum in dealing with the public / motorists.
  • Must have at least two (2) wreckers passing standards for handling light and heavy vehicles.
  • Standard color for MMDA accredited tow trucks is white.
  • Also, towing companies are held responsible for losses/damages incurred while towing your vehicle.

How much should I pay to get my car back, really?

On Section 10 of the said MMDA Memorandum, the towing fees shall be paid either to the Metro Manila Local Government Unit concerned or to MMDA, as the case may be.


Trucks having gross capacity weight of 4,000 kilos and above P1,200.0
Cars, jeeps, and pick-ups having gross capacity weight of less than 4,000 kilos P800.00


Any type of motor vehicle illegally parked on any public road, street or thoroughfare in Metro Manil P500.00
Trucks having gross capacity weight of 4,000 kilos and above P1,400 (in addition to the above P500)
Cars, jeeps, and pick-ups having gross capacity weight of less than 4,000 kilos P1,000 (in addition to the above P500)

Our best defense is still by keeping ourselves properly informed of what the law says about traffic rules and regulations.  Visit the MMDA website for the complete copy of the memorandum circulars on vehicle towing and impounding.




Published by MasterCitizen

I collect citizen facts and the usual stuff that might be important for a Pinoy's everyday life....Subscribe to get updates, opinions, and news.

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