Motorcycles are among the top motor vehicles that Filipinos love. Other than the fact that it’s cheaper than purchasing a car, its efficiency can greatly be appreciated because of the infamous traffic that our country has. If you haven’t experienced riding a motorcycle yet, then you’re missing half of your lives. They can sway and stray on roads passing through the heavy traffic of queued cars.
This is why our dearest President Rodrigo Duterte signed the law that fully aims to eradicate the use of motorcycles in criminal activities. This law mandates motorcycles to have clearer, bigger plates and other marks for identification.
President Duterte signed the Republic Act (R.A.) 11235 or also known as the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act last 8th of March, 2019. The Malacañang Palace released a copy of it to the Media last Thursday, the 14th of March 2019.
What does this law say?
As per the law, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) needs to issue clearer, bigger, and more readable license plates that are color-coded to all motorcycles in the Philippines. It’s not just the plates that are required to be big; the prints and the numbers on the plates should also be big enough so that they are readable from a distance of at least fifteen (15) meters from the motorcycle in question.
In addition to this, the LTO was also tasked to arrange a color scheme of the plate numbers which are differentiated by each region so that a specific vehicle can easily be identified as to where the motorcycle was registered.
The utilization of voluntary and paid labor from prisoners shall be among the requirements to bid for the procurement of the number plates under this Act.”
It must also be displayed in both the front and the back sides of the motorcycle as well as it being made from sturdy and durable material which will be further determined and checked by the Land Transportation Office (LTO).
When should motorcycle owners have this type of plate number?
As per the provision, motorcycle owners who has old number plates which are not in conformity with the requirements of the law, are required to renew their registrations. They should be able to have the required and newly-mandated bigger and readable plate number not later than the 30th of June, 2019.
That’s just a registration, so no need to worry. As a matter of fact, the LTO has until the 31st of December of this year to produce, release, and scatter the readable plate numbers for motorcycles. Following the date, the penalties and other violations, in accordance to the new law, to motorcycle owners and riders shall take effect.
A majority of people are in favor of this, however, major transport groups are not in favor of this idea. Why? Because according to them, bigger license plates for motorcycles can do more harm than good to both the motorcycle rider/s and pedestrians.
Joebert Bolanos, a concerned citizen and a part of the Riders of the Philippines group told a House hearing in January of last year that plates that are larger can be affected and struck by strong winds so it can hold danger when it’s being used.
If we place plates that are too big and will be affected by wind, there’s no assurance that the mounting points will hold these plates in place.”
Furthermore, Bolanos opposed the idea of using front plates because it could impose a higher risk of accidents to both pedestrians and the riders. He made a mention that in other countries, they did not continue to use front plates because they deemed that it’s more dangerous than not having it.
What will happen when riders disobey this law?
Well, in the current law that we have, driving without a valid and authenticated license plate number is not allowed and will be punishable by a minimum of four (4) months and one (1) day up to a maximum of two (2) years and four (4) months; alternatively, a fine of not less than P50,000.00 but not more than P100,000.00; or both penalties.
In the event that a motorcycle gets caught on the road without a readable plate number or a number plate will be halted by officials and law enforcers. Furthermore, they will be immediately surrendered to the Philippine National Police (PNP).
On another side, if a motor vehicle was used unintentionally in the commission of a crime, everyone involved in the motorcycle (the owner, backrider or passenger, and the driver) shall face punishment either by a 12-year and 1 day term of imprisonment up to a maximum of twenty (20) years as per the Revised Penal Code.
If the motorcycle seized by the law enforcement is utilized in the commission of a crime, the maximum penalty of whatever crime committed shall be imposed.
Plate number robbery
In addition to that, the law also mentions that using stolen number plates or readable number plates, sold, and imported of non-compliant motorcycles are also considered crimes. More so, concealing of the number plate, tampering with it, and of intentional use is the same as committing a crime.
But are motorcycle crimes really that serious?
The Philippine National Police (PNP) gathered data and was able to report that from the year 2010 to 2017, there was a total of 28,409 motorcycle-riding crimes or incidents reported. And, out of that, 13,062 or a mere 46 percent were shooting crimes and incidents.
In the year 2016, the total of 4,000 motorcycle crimes were reported and just 0.18 percent or just eight (8) of those crimes were closed and solved.
With the new measure signed by our dearest President Duterte, an initial funding of P150 million just for the implementation of the law shall be expected. This, on the brighter side, includes the creation of the Congressional Oversight Committee (COC) on the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act.
This will be the groups of people who will have the responsibility to report an annual assessment and review of the law’s implementation which, of course, includes the penalties.
Most importantly the Land Transportation Office has a total of ninety (90) days from the effectivity of the act to publicize the rules and regulations so no motorcycle owner, rider, and passenger will get penalized without awareness.
What do you think about this? There are a mix of emotions and opinions scattering around social media about this. Let us know what you think in the comments section.