By Martin Sadongdong
The Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) is gearing up to implement a new law that would require a bigger license plate for motorcycle riders in an attempt to curb crimes perpetrated by motorcycle-riding suspects.
In an interview with the Manila Bulletin, Chief Superintendent Roberto Fajardo, PNP-HPG director, expressed belief that the strict implementation of Republic Act No. 11235 or the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act will help curb the crime incidents involving bike-riding suspects.
“That is the objective of the law: to stop or prevent crimes. [I] hope it will materialize so good luck to us,” Fajardo said.
RA 11235 was approved by President Duterte on March 8, 2019.
Under Section 5 of the said law, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) shall “issue a readable number plate for every motorcycle.”
The LTO shall also “determine the font style and size of the bigger, readable and color-coded number plates” provided that its contents “shall be readable from the front, the back, and the side of the motorcycle from a distance of at least 15 meters.”
The new license plate shall also be color-coded depending on the region where the motorcycle was registered “for quick and easy identification.”
Motorcycle riders who will fail to follow the law shall be punished with prision correccional or jail time from six months and one day to six years; and a fine of not less than P50,000 but not more than P100,000 or both, according to the law.
However, the newly-passed law did not sit well with thousands of motorcycle riders across the country.
In a “Unity Walk,” held on Sunday, an estimated 10,000 riders gathered at EDSA People Power monument in EDSA, Quezon City to protest the new law.
According to the protesters, a bigger license plate which would be put in front of the motorcycle will only affect the aerodynamics of the vehicle, affecting its travel performance.
They also doubted if the law will really help in solving criminality since they claimed criminals usually don’t use license plates when committing a crime, or when they do, they use a fake one.
Similar protests were also observed in other parts of the country like Albay; Bacolod; Iloilo City; San Fernando, Pampanga; and Zamboanga City.
However, the PNP-HPG Chief said there is no stopping them from implementing the law since it is already approved by the President.
“We have to follow it. The law may be harsh but it is the law,” Fajardo stressed.
The new law shall take effect after 15 days following the completion of its publication either in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper in general circulation in the Philippines.
A copy of the law was officially published in the Official Gazette on March 14.