By: Villamor Visaya, Jr.
SANTIAGO CITY — Some 3,000 people rode their motorcycles on Sunday to join caravans in Cabagan and Santiago City, appealing to national leaders to heed their pleas on Republic Act (RA) 11235 or the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act, which requires two bigger plates for motorcycles.
Romeo Berdan, the 39-year-old president of Spartanz Riders Club and regional riders’ federation head, said motorcycles are designed to have a single plate each and an additional one would mean added expense for cash-strapped owners, aside from being unsafe.
Berdan said their signature drive before the law was passed was not heeded. He said riders described the approval of the bill into law as “haphazard”.
“Before the issuance of the implementing rules and regulations of the law, we hope that our concerns shall be addressed,” he added.
Berdan lamented that motorcycle riders are always being tagged as behind the crimes happening in the country.
RA 11235, which was crafted to thwart crimes committed by motorcycle-riding suspects, has directed the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to issue bigger and reflectorized license plates to every motorcycle and scooter in the country to take a “bite out of crime committed with the use of motorcycles or scooters”.
Under the law, riders must put plates both in the front and rear parts of their motorcycle. The plate numbers should be big enough to be readable from a distance of 12 to 15 meters.
A color scheme for the plates will be devised for every region so that it would be easy to identify where such motorcycle was registered, together with an alphanumeric system for easier identification and recollection by the general public.
Driving without any plate number is prohibited and shall be punishable by imprisonment for four months and one day up to two years and four months or a fine of not less than PHP50,000 but not more than PHP100,000, or both, according to the law which was passed by the Congress through Senator Richard Gordon, its main author.
The LTO is also mandated to provide police authorities with a list of all registered motorcycles and scooters including the name of the registered owner, the number of his driver’s license, his address and contact details, vehicle identification number, plate number, body color, brand and manufacturer.
If a motorcycle was intentionally used in the commission of a crime, the owner, driver, back rider or passenger who participated in the crime shall be punished either by imprisonment of 12 years and one day up to 20 years as provided under the Revised Penal Code. Further, the owner of the motorcycle would be liable if he or she fails to report the theft of his vehicle or has been used in the commission of a crime.
A lesser punishment of prision correcional (from four months and one day up to two years and four months) to prision mayor (from six years and one day up to 12 years) will be meted in the case of a less grievous crime.
The Philippine National Police has recorded 1,069 crime incidents involving riding-in-tandem suspects with 810 killed victims in 2011, higher than the 824 recorded shooting incidents in 2010 with 604 killed victims.
In Metro Manila alone, the number ballooned to more than 3,000 in 2013. In 2014, it more than doubled to 6,190 crime incidents and slightly decreased to 6,006 in 2015. (PNA)