Motorcyclists buck double plates law
Some 200 motorcycle riders and manufacturers went to the Senate on Tuesday to express their opposition to a law recently signed by President Rodrigo Duterte that mandated the use of bigger license plates on the front and back of motorcycles.
In a forum organized by Sen. JV Ejercito, the groups of motorcyclists and dealers said certain provisions of Republic Act No. 11235, or the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act, only exposed them to greater risks and could compromise their safety.
They also objected to the imposition of a hefty fine of at least P50,000 and prison terms on owners of motorcycles without the required bigger and color-coded license plates.
“We will address the concerns you have raised, especially regarding your safety. I assure you that you will be consulted in the crafting of the IRR (implementing rules and regulations),” Ejercito said.
Dangerous for riders
“As a motorcycle rider myself, I understand your worries. I also agree with you that having metal license plates on the front portion of the motorcycle will be dangerous for the riders,” he added.
Contrary to the information being circulated on social media, Ejercito clarified that the law, principally sponsored by Sen. Richard Gordon, would not be implemented until the agencies concerned came up with the IRR.
“I assure you that the guidelines will be acceptable to the riders and the whole riding community,” he said.
The law was aimed at reducing or preventing crimes committed with the use of motorcycles by having two license plates that were clear and readable, even from a distance.
Jobert Bolanos, chair of the Motorcycle Rights Organization, however, said that big metal license plates could break due to wind drag while the motorcycle was travelling at high speed.
“We are not talking about aesthetics. We just want to protect the safety of the riders and their rights regarding the enforcement of this law,” Bolanos stressed during the forum.
Alex Cumpas of the Motorcycle Development Program Participants Association noted that the Philippines would be the first in the world to require big license plates in front of motorcycles.
“Our main concern is that we cannot vouch for the safety of the metal license plates. It really needs rigid testing and research… It would take us at least two years to come up with a [safe product],” Cumpas said.
Ejercito clarified that the law did not explicitly require the license plates to be made of metal. He said decals and radio-frequency identification or RFID stickers might be used in lieu of number plates.
For Magdalo partylist Rep. Gary Alejano, the newly signed law may have good intentions but it will not help in solving crimes carried out by men on motorcycles.
“The problem of ensuring security is a primary responsibility of government, so it is rather unacceptable to use motorcycle-riding citizens as a scapegoat for [its] shortcomings,” he said. —With a report from Melvin Gascon
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