By Martin Sadongdong
The Philippine National Police (PNP) expressed its support Monday to the possible suspension of the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act or the Republic Act 11235 as raised by President Duterte.
Police Colonel Bernard Banac, PNP spokesperson, said it is just right that the concerns of the affected sector must be heard before the law is fully implemented.
“The PNP supports the decision of the President to hear the concerns raised by the affected sectors of the ‘doble plaka’ law to strengthen its provisions for even effective enforcement,” Banac said.
Despite the possible suspension of the law, Banac said that the PNP will still implement its campaign against motorcycle-riding suspects (MRS) and other traffic laws, violators.
“It will continue and remain relentless,” he noted.
Banac stated that the PNP “is ready” to fully implement the law “anytime upon the release of its IRR [Implementing Rules and Regulations].”
Signed into law by Duterte on March 8, 2019, RA 11235 requires motorcycle riders to install bigger license plates in front and at the back of their vehicles in an attempt to curb the crimes perpetrated by motorcycle-riding suspects.
According to the law, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) shall “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 plates would also be color-coded depending on the region where it was registered.
However, Duterte said over the weekend that the law might “not make a difference” as criminals in the country “have perfected the art of falsifying and fabrication.”
He also said he would talk to the LTO and Senator Richard Gordon, the principal author of the law, to make a compromise so that the law will be accepted by the riders.
Even the fine for the violators will be considered since the President said it is too high.
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.
Various motorcycle groups have long opposed the passage of the law since according to them, a bigger license plate in front of the motorcycle will only affect the aerodynamics of the vehicle, thus, affecting its travel performance.
They also doubted if the law will really help in solving criminality since criminals usually don’t use license plates when committing a crime, or when they do, they use a fake one.
Police General Oscar Albayalde, PNP chief, earlier appealed to the groups to give the law a chance since it is not meant to harm them but to find ways to deal with crimes perpetrated by motorcycle-riding suspects.
“Tignan lang muna natin. Hindi naman siguro tayo gagawa ng ikaka-pangit ng sasakyan natin. Ito ang sabi ko nga para sa ating lahat, para sa kapakanan ng lahat at security ng lahat (Let’s just see [it’s benefits.] Probably we will bever do something that would affect the image of our vehicles negatively. This is for the safety of all),” Albayalde told reporters in a press conference in Camp Crame, Quezon City on March 25, 2019.
Even Police Brigadier General Roberto Fajardo, chief of the Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG), believes that the law will help them in solving crimes perpetrated by motorcycle riders.
Aside from the double plate law, the PNP launched last year a program dubbed as “Oplan: Clean Rider” where a “clean rider sticker” was given to a motorcycle rider who has no criminal record.