Fighting motorcycle crimes with motorcycles
LUCENA CITY, Philippines – The police in Quezon province would launch a special unit composed of trained motorcycle policemen to counter the threat posed by criminals riding on motorcycles.
Senior Superintendent Ronaldo Genaro Ylagan, Quezon police chief, in a press briefing on Thursday, said the police unit, to be called “Blue Hawk,” would start operation next month.
The group would be based in Barangay Talipan in Pagbilao town along Maharlika Highway.
Ylagan said the unit would be initially composed of 20 policemen, all graduates of a rigid and difficult 45-day motorcycle-riding course held in April.
He said the motorcycle policemen would be sent on patrol on the entire 150-kilometer stretch of Maharlika Highway and other secondary roads to counter the operations of motorcycle-riding criminals.
Ylagan identified the central parts of the province, where motorcycle-riding criminals conduct robberies and assassinations with alarming regularity, as areas of priority for the Blue Hawk unit.
He said members of the unit, who would operate in a “buddy-buddy system,” would have the entire province as their area of operation.
Each Blue Hawk team would be given areas of assignment.
“Each rider will be fully armed and equipped with mobile phones and high-powered handheld radios for faster communication,” Ylagan said.
He said some of the policemen would be riding new 180-cc motorcycles donated by Public Safety Savings and Loan Association Inc.
Ylagan said his office would provide the group with more new motorcycles in the days to come. “In the meantime, most of them will use their own big bikes,” he said.
He appealed to local governments in the province to also donate high-powered motorcycles for the group.
Authorities are stumped by the surge in crimes committed by motorcycle-riding suspects.
Some officials are proposing a ban on the use of motorcycles by two persons, but this was denounced by motorcycle groups as discriminatory against the poor, who can’t afford cars and use motorcycles as their mode of transport.
Others proposed requiring motorcycle riders to wear helmets bearing the license plate numbers of their motorcycles.
Another proposal is for motorcycle riders to wear their license plate numbers on their shirts.
The proposals, however, were opposed by groups of motorcycle owners.
Some legislators supporting the proposed ban on two persons riding a motorcycle said the argument that it is anti-poor does not hold water.
They said prices of motorcycles were beyond the reach of the poorest of the poor. The poor, they said, take public transportation or simply walk to their destinations.
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