‘CATCH THEM IF YOU CAN’: Traffic office bares strategy vs riding-in-tandem killers

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ILOILO City – How do you solve riding-in-tandem killings in this city? The Public Safety and Transportation Management Office (PSTMO) of the city government has an idea: to catch or identify these criminals, make it mandatory for all motorcycle riders to wear high-visibility vests.

High-visibility vests, sometimes known as “hi-viz”, are vests that have highly reflective properties or color that is easily discernible from any background.

How exactly will this work?

According to PSTMO head Jeck Conlu, the reflectorized vests must be secured from city hall and registered with the Iloilo City Police Office. It would bear the driver’s registered control number “so it will be easy to determine who is driving or riding a motorcycle.”

“The vest should be worn while the rider is within the city,” said Conlu.

Should there be crimes by riding-in-tandem culprits day or night, it would be easy for the police to spot speeding motorcycles, said Conlu.

Conversely, motorcycles with riders not wearing high-visibility vests should also alarm the police.

“We are recommending the wearing of high-visibility vests as an alternative to the proposal to do away with the wearing of helmets to easily identify motorcycle riders,” said Conlu.

“Kon indi man naton ma-identify ang itsura, at least may lead na ang pulis naton kun kay sin-o ato reflectorized vest,” explained Conlu.

The wearing of helmets by motorcycle riders is mandatory under Republic Act 10054 or the Motorcycle Helmet Act of 2009.

Authorities have been looking for ways to curb if not totally eliminate crimes perpetrated by motorcycle-riding gunmen who usually conceal their faces with helmets.

In August this year, the Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) launched the “Campaign Plan: Clean Rider” featuring specialized stickers on motorcycles.

The “Clean Rider” drive entails the registration of motorcycles at police stations so they could be issued with stickers.

To register at police stations, a motorist must fill up a registration form with a 2×2 picture and submit for recording the make, engine number, chassis number, plate number, year model, and the complete owner’s name, occupation, certificate of registration, official receipt, and driver’s license.

If the motorcycle is used in the commission of a crime, it could be easily tracked. The PRO-6 has a “centralized data system”, according to Superintendent Joem Malong, regional police spokesperson.

A matching sticker would be attached to the driver’s license of the owner for easy identification.

No fee would be collected.

There are over 230,000 registered motorcycles in Western Visayas, data from the Land Transportation Office 6 (LTO-6) showed.

Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao, regional police director, however clarified that having a “Clean Rider” sticker does not preclude authorities from flagging motorists at checkpoints because of the possibility the rider may not be the real owner of the motorcycle or it has been hijacked.

“The police will still ask for the OR/CR (Official Receipt / Certificate of Registration) and driver’s license,” said Bulalacao.

The process, however, won’t be as tedious.

“Ang sticker parang passes na ‘yan. Hindi kana pag-interrogate,” said Bulalacao./PN

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