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Mandaluyong channels Colombia law vs men riding-in-tandem

/ 01:28 PM September 04, 2014
benhur-abalos

Mandaluyong Mayor Benhur Abalos. http://www.mandaluyong.gov.ph/ photo

MANILA, Philippines — It may not make him a popular leader but Mandaluyong Mayor Benhur Abalos Jr. is determined to crack down on crimes committed by men on motorbikes.

Abalos, in an interview over Radyo Inquirer 990AM, insisted that Mandaluyong’s new local ordinance banning men from riding together on motorcycles would help address the high crime rates in the city.

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“I am asking for the understanding of your listeners, of our citizens. I hope you understand why we are doing this,” Abalos said in a mix of English and Filipino.

“There is a similar law being implemented in Colombia. And it became very, very effective in addressing the terrible crimes committed by men riding-in-tandem in the past,” he added.

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The mayor admitted he has been receiving a lot of flak from motorcycle riders but he said he is only asking for six months to implement the ordinance.

“In case it does not work, don’t worry, we will scrap it. But I think it will really succeed,” he said.

Ordinance no. 550, which took effect on September 4, prohibits motorcycle riders passing through Mandaluyong from having male passengers. However, a father-and-son pair will be let off the hook. Those allowed as motorcycle passengers are children, seven years old and up, and women.

Abalos said the new ordinance was their way of addressing crimes amid having an insufficient number of policemen for a population of almost 300,000.

He said that in addition to cases involving motorcycle-riding assassins almost doubling, the arrest of suspects was only at two percent.

“For every 100 cases, only two are arrested. So for me this is a very deadly combination. Rising criminiality every year, and, at the same time only around two percent of perpetrators are arrested. This will just encourage people to use motorcycles to commit crimes,” he explained.

Abalos said they now have policemen manning the city’s borders and that the ordinance makes it easier for policemen to apprehend individuals who may illegally be carrying guns.

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“If the police see two men riding a motorcycle passing by, they can immediately flag them down. It would be easy,” he said.

During the interview, Abalos explained that when he went to Colombia several months ago to attend a forum for the United Nations, he saw first-hand how the local law banning male motorcycle passengers was being implemented.

He said it was implemented, especially in Medellin, to address the crimes committed by drug cartels and the resulting “breakdown of law” there.

“It was being criticized for it but it was so effective that the incidence of crime in that place went down,” he said.

Websites for expatriates living in Colombia mention a similar local law being employed in the Medellin municipality to stem crimes committed by “sicarios” or hitmen. However, there was no information on how effective it was.

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TAGS: Benhur Abalos Jr., Colombia, Crime, Mandaluyong City, Metro, riding in tandem
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