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JV Ejercito to seek lower fines for new motorcycle law violations

/ 07:05 PM March 19, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — Senator JV Ejercito said he is considering filing amendments to the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act to seek a reasonable amount for penalties against violators of the newly signed law.

Ejercito met with Land Transportation Office (LTO) Assistant Secretary Edgar Galvante, Col. Darwin Paz of the Highway Patrol Group, motorcycle riders, and manufacturers on Tuesday.

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“I will ask Sen. (Richard) Gordon, magpapaalam ako sa kanya na magpa-file ako ng amendments this coming May na medyo reasonable rates kasi mabigat ang P50,000 parang presyo na ng motor ‘yan eh,” he said in a statement.

(I will ask Sen. Gordon to allow me to file amendments this coming May for a more reasonable rate for penalties. The current rate of P50,000 is already the price of the motorcycle.)

READ: Motorcycles now need bigger number plates

“Karamihan ng mga riders ay talagang ordinary employees. So mabigat para sa kanila ‘yun (Most riders are ordinary employees. So it’s heavy for them),” he added.

Earlier, President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law the Republic Act 11235 or the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act, which mandates the LTO to issue bigger, readable, and color-coded license plates to motorcycles in the country.

READ: Duterte signs law requiring bigger, color-coded license plates for motorcycles

The new law also mandates the LTO to “devise a color scheme of the readable number plates for every region in the Philippines where a motorcycle is registered for quick and easy identification.”

Motorcycle owners must renew their registration and apply for the required readable license plate not later than June 30, 2019. They are also required to register their motorcycle with the LTO within five days from the acquisition of ownership.

Meanwhile, motorcycle owners must immediately report any sale or disposition of their motorcycle to the LTO.

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The law states that failure to register within the prescribed dates carries a penalty of “imprisonment of arresto mayor to prison correctional, as defined under the Revised Penal Code, or a fine of not less than P20,000 but not more than P50,000, or both.”

Ejercito noted that “doble plaka” or  two metal plates — one in front and one at the rear — in the motorcycle as required under the law, angered riders as they claimed it would pose a serious threat to their safety.

A motorcycle rights group had earlier said that placing a license plate motorcycle’s front can be dangerous.

“A size creates [stronger] wind resistance,” said Jobert Bolanos, chair of the Motorcycle Rights Organization.

“When there is [stronger] resistance, there’s bound to be [an accident] … If that [license plate] gets torn off the front [of the bike], it could hurt the rider or pedestrians, or even kill someone,” he added.

The new metal plates should also be big enough to be readable from a distance of at least 15 meters.

Ejercito, however, clarified that the newly signed law does not strictly mandate the use of metal plates.

“Ang maganda (sa dialogue na ito), si Asec. Galvante ng LTO, very open, in fact, mas gusto n’ya decals in lieu of metal plates. Either decal or RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification), which is even better para maging hi-tech tayo,” he said.

(The good thing here is that Asec. Galvante of the LTO is very open. In fact, they prefer decals instead of metal plates — either decal or RFID, which is even better, so we go hi-tech.)

The new law would only take effect after the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) is issued, according to Ejercito.

“Dapat maintindihan ng lahat na hindi pa ini-implement itong batas na ito. Nandito tayo ngayon para mag-usap at para maging acceptable ang magiging IRR (Everybody needs to understand that this law is not yet going to be implemented. We are here to discuss the IRR),” he said. /ee

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