To deter killings, Caloocan mulls rules on riding tandem
To keep motorcycle-riding gunmen from turning Caloocan into a “killing field,” the city council is deliberating on a proposed ordinance that will regulate riding tandem.
Councilor Rose Mercado, the author of the draft measure, said the move was prompted by the string of unsolved shooting incidents in the city, mostly perpetrated by assailants on motorcycles.
“It’s ironic that Caloocan City is known as for its motorcycle trade and yet most of its shootings are carried out via motorcycles because it’s the easiest vehicle to use to get away with crime. That’s why there is a need to regulate it,” Mercado said in an interview.
If approved, the ordinance would restrict the pairs who could ride on a motorcycle to two women or a male driver with a female backrider.
It would prohibit what the ordinance called “suspicious tandems”: male drivers with male backriders, or female drivers with male backriders. Mercado noted that in most attacks, the backriders—or the gunmen—were men.
Male-male or female-male riders, however, will be exempted if they can show proof that they are related to each other.
Policemen who use motorbikes are also covered by the regulation, Mercado stressed.
Fines, jail time
Violators face fines ranging from P500 to P5,000, aside from a jail term of up to 60 days for repeated offenders.
After the controversial deaths of teenagers Kian Loyd delos Santos, Carl Angelo Arnaiz and Reynaldo de Guzman in police operations last year, the city council passed a curfew ordinance to keep minors safe from late-night attackers.
But Caloocan’s image again took a blow after a fresh spate of unsolved shootings, which in March led to the removal of Senior Supt. Jemar Modequillo as city police chief.
Of the 111 shootings that occurred during Modequillo’s six-month tenure, at least 47 were carried out by motorcycle-riding gunmen.
This early, however, the proposed ordinance, has already met resistance from a group of motorcycle riders in the city.
In an open letter posted on Facebook, members of the Motorcycle Rights Organization, which claims nationwide membership, said the proposed ordinance “impinges on their right to use the motorcycle with a companion as a means of travel or livelihood.”
Burden to ordinary citizens
“It may be that criminals take lives, but [this ordinance] [is] also [a] burden [to] ordinary citizens whom you are mandated to protect and [spare from] the brunt of evil perpetrated by select rogues in the community,” they stressed.
But Mercado countered: “They are anticipating issues where there aren’t any. The ordinance will still undergo several changes. Our priority is to protect the city from crime.”
Mandaluyong City implemented a similar ordinance in 2015, hoping it will be a crime deterrent. Riding tandem was prohibited in the city except for first-degree relatives and children up to 10 years old.
Policemen assigned to the city were exempted from the ordinance.
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