Police ready for Helmet LawBy Rhea Ruth V. Rosell
Cebu Daily News
It may have an adverse effect in the campaign to curb crimes perpetrated by motorcycle-riding criminals, police are ready to support the full implementation of the Republic Act (R.A.) 10054 also known as the Helmet Act of 2009.
“We will support in implementing this law,” said Senior Supt. Melvin Ramon Buenafe, chief of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) in yesterday’s Talakayan Sa Isyung Pulis (TSIP) forum at the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7).
Although the identities of criminals are concealed by wearing helmets in committing crimes, there are still other ways to identify them, said Buenafe.
Buenafe said extensive checkpoints will be conducted and policemen would request motorists to remove their helmets during checkpoints to identify criminals.
Buenafe said a person’s attire, the motorcycle plate number, and body markings, among others are ways of identifying criminals during checkpoints.
Buenafe said he will submit a proposal to the Police Coordinating and Advisory Council (PCAC) for a city ordinance that will only require motorists to wear a half-faced helmet instead of a full-faced helmet.
Senior Supt. Noel Gillamac, chief of the Mandaue City Police Office (MCPO), said the Helmet Law is an “obstacle” in identifying criminals.
But Gillamac said he doesn’t see any reason not to solve crimes once the Helmet Law is implemented starting Aug. 1.
Gillamac is urging the public to be vigilant in identifying criminals.
Gillamac said the basic features of a person like the height is one way of identifying criminals.
Supt. Jonathan Abella of the Lapu-Lapu City Police Office (LLCPO) said the Helmet Law is intended for the “safety” of drivers but not for the “security” measures in identifying criminals.
Supt. Audie Villacin, chief of the Regional Intelligence and Detective Management Division (RIDMD) of PRO-7, said there are 301 suspects (motorcycle-riding criminals) recorded in Central Visayas from January to May this year.
Villacin said 265 remain at large while 32 were arrested.
Villacin said the Cebu City police recorded the highest crime incidents involving motorcycle-riding criminals followed by the Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO).
Supt. Pablo Labra II, deputy chief of the Regional Intelligence Division of PRO-7, said there were five incidents of motorcycle-riding criminals recorded from June 18 to 24 in Bohol, Cebu City, Mandaue City and Negros Islands.
Labra said the Police Integrated Patrol System is a big help in apprehending motorcycle-riding criminals.
Lawyer Zandro Ronnie Oriol, spokesperson of the National Police Commission, said the Philippine National Police (PNP) can request the Department of Trade and Industry to change the design of the helmet to easily identify motorcycle-riding criminals.
“We can recommend a change in specification (of the helmet),” said Senior Supt. Orlando Ualat, chief of the Regional Directorial Staff of PRO-7.
Oriol said it was not stated in the law that the PNP cannot request a change of helmet design to easily identify motorcycle-riding criminals.
Ualat said a technical working group (TWG) will be organized to work on the proposal.
“We will do some study and propose. Hopefully, we will be the first region to initiate (the change in helmet design),” Ualat said.
The Helmet Act of 2009 strictly requires motorcycle riders (drivers and passengers) to wear crash helmets which should pass quality standards set by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
Violators will be fined P1,000 for the first offense; P3,000, second offense; P5,000, third offense; and P10,000 and confiscation of driver’s license for the fourth and succeeding violations.
Helmet manufacturers, importers or distributors which will not comply with the law will be fined from P10,000 to P20,000.