Over 130 male bikers discover Mandaluyong ban ‘no longer a joke’
MANILA, Philippines–Melvin Asiatico, 25, was supposed to help his friend Jeay Purado, 28, get his driver’s license in San Juan City Thursday afternoon, when they were flagged down by the Mandaluyong City police on Shaw Boulevard. He thought that it was just another checkpoint until he was instructed to proceed to the Criminal Investigation Unit, where he and Purado were booked for violating the new ordinance prohibiting men from riding together on a motorbike.
Another rider, 30-year-old Jeffrey Chavez was surprised that he and his passenger, Vincel Tupid, 32, were still issued violation tickets when he showed his vehicle’s registration papers and driver’s license to the police who stopped them. Coming from their shop in Pasig City, the two men were supposed to go to Manila to have an air compressor fixed.
Asiatico and Chavez were among the 136 men—36 of them local residents—flagged down in the city for violating the ordinance as of 4 p.m. Thursday, the first day the anticrime measure was implemented.
Despite the media reports and the roadside billboards in Mandaluyong that were mounted weeks earlier to explain Ordinance No. 550, many motorbike users either were still unaware of it or thought that the enforcement would not be this serious.
Signed by Mayor Benhur Abalos on Aug. 13, the ordinance was tauted as a deterrent to bike-riding gunmen or robbers terrorizing the metropolis, a growing menace that prompted the city government to look for other countermeasures outside regular police work. The measure was patterned after a law in Colombia, he earlier said.
Under the ban, men cannot ride together on motorcycles unless they can produce government IDs proving they are relatives. Violators face fines starting at P1,000. Repeat offenders also face three months in jail.
Jimmy Isidro, chief of the city’s Public Information Office, said only policemen may flag down violators. Civilian traffic marshals and village watchmen could only help them monitor the streets, since they could encounter armed riders, he added.
Isidro said violators would be instructed to report to the police headquarters for verification and would be asked to pay the fine within five days.
Asiatico complained that he and his friend hadn’t heard about the ordinance since they hail from Antipolo City and were just passing through Mandaluyong. He said the police should just have given them a warning.
But Isidro stressed: “This is no longer a joke. We need to follow it.”