By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Sen. Grace Poe wants an inquiry into reports of discrimination and harassment of motorcycle riders supposedly by law enforcement agencies.
Poe, in filing Senate Resolution 749, cited an advocacy of a group of motorcycle riders to remove the stigma against them and promote road safety and their rights.
The chair of the Senate committee on public services noted that the affordability of motorcycle units and increase of motorcycle accidents, as well as the increased criminal activities involving motorcycles, led to a perception by the community that motorcycles riders are “reckless riders and are prone to criminal activities.”
Poe enumerated in her measure the supposed abuses to motorcycles riders, particularly: the “irregular” checkpoints by the Philippine National Police; “excessive” penalties under national laws and high fines imposed against motorcycle riders; and local ordinances that have “overlooked” the income of minimum wage-earning motorists.
“While it intends to substantially bring down the number of accidents and crimes involving motorcycles the State shall not do so to the detriment of the rights of motorcycle riders who seem to be treated with automatic disdain and ‘harassment’ at times,” Poe said.
“The State must ensure that motorcycle riders are not being discriminated upon and must be treated equally compared to riders and/or drivers of four-wheeled vehicles,” she added.
In her hearing, Poe said she wants to look into the implementation of laws and regulations in relation to motorcycle riders.
Meanwhile, Sen. Joseph Ejercito, vice chairperson of the public services panel,yesterday said he wrote to Land Transportation Office (LTO) chairman Edgar Galvante to seek clarification in the implementation of laws, particularly on the LTO’s regulation on motorcycle auxiliary lights and mufflers.
Ejercito cited reports that the PNP’s Highway Patrol Group (HPG) does not recognize an LTO 2016 memorandum allowing the use of LED auxiliary lights.
“Instead, the PNP-HPG invokes Presidential Decree 96 which prohibits the use of sirens, bells, horns and similar gadgets on motor vehicles. The PNP-HPG operatives continue to apprehend drivers for spotting the banned gadgets despite the LTO memorandum,” he said in his letter to Galvante, dated May 21, 2018.
A motorcycle enthusiast himself, Ejercito in a tweet described this as “discrimination.” He said he will also file a resolution on the matter.