Here's a thought I ran by Cathy the other morning, which she quickly debunked for lack of merit.
The standard traffic violation scenario goes, more or less, like this: citizen breaks traffic rule. Cop pulls citizen over. Citizen tries to talk it out. Cop issues citizen a traffic violation receipt with corresponding prohibitive fine (PHP500 and up) and confiscates license. Citizen goes to City Hall to pay prohibitive fine and gets license back; in relevant cases, citizen attends driving seminar given by City Hall.
Here's what usually happens: citizen breaks traffic rule. Cop pulls citizen over. Citizen tries to talk it out. Cop reminds citizen of repercussions and results of violation (lost time, inconvenience, etc.). Citizen offers grease money of anywhere from PHP40 to PHP300, depending on violation. Cop accepts. Citizen gets away, government gets nothing.
Given the inconvenience and prohibitive fine, I wouldn't be surprised if I were to learn that there is actually little money turned over to government bureaucracy from traffic. The high price of the fine, the inconvenience of going to City Hall and waiting in line, and the sheer gall of many crooked cops, make it so much more convenient to just pay the policeman a little bribe (in the Philippines, it's called tong). That's a lot of lost revenue.
Here's a cockamamie suggestion that's crazy enough to work.
1. Lower the cost of the traffic violations and allow the driver to pay for the violation on the spot.
2. Like meter maids, allow the cops to issue traffic violation receipts (collected in numbered receipt booklets) and collect the money. Each transaction is worth two receipts (original to the driver, carbon-copy left in the booklet), and the cop turns over the entire booklet at the end of the day.
The pro's of the scheme?
1. Lesser chance for bribes. Because the fee for the violation is lower, it is more likely the driver may pay the fine instead of offering the cop a bribe.
2. Lesser chance for graft and corruption. Because the driver receives a receipt (and the other is in the booklet), and each receipt is numbered, the odds are less likely for a traffic cop to pocket his collected receipts at the end of the day.
3. Increased funds. Because the cops turn over the cash at the end of the day, the government is likely to earn more money.
1. Difficult to monitor repeat violations. Because the local traffic enforcement agencies are largely offline, it can take a long time to determine if a certain driver is guilty of repeat violations. However, this is a problem that is a problem today anyway.
I'm sure I'm making this sound more simplistic than it is (plus, I'm posting thus during my lunch break, and I'm starved!), but at this point, the government is set to implement another set of taxes that will raise gasoline prices to ridiculous levels (diesel prices have gone up 18 times since the start of the year, almost P9 per liter!), and I'm just looking for alternative ways to increase government income. Since corruption is so prevalent here, we need to be more creative to get past the sleazeballs and slimebags (but I love you with the love of Christ).