ILOILO City – A month ago President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law a measure requiring motorcycles to have two bigger and readable number plates. The Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act aims to prevent criminals from using motorcycles. Yesterday, he called for the new law’s suspension.
“I-suspend ko lang muna. Kasi it is not good. It is dangerous to place another gadget, lalo na’t may kanto (ang plate number),” said the President last night at the national convention of the National Federation of Motorcycle Clubs of the Philippine at the Iloilo Convention Center in Mandurriao district.
By making number plates more readable from a distance – and also color-coded based on the country’s regions – the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act or Republic Act 11235 aims to prevent crimes, most especially killings perpetrated by riding-in-tandem gunmen.
“I will try to convince the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to maybe to hang on,” said the President. Between 3,000 to 4,000 motorcycle enthusiasts in attendance burst into applause.
Motorcycle clubs have expressed outrage over the new law that mandates the mounting of bigger number plates on the front and back of every motorcycle.
“Lakihan lang ang plate number sa likod. Suggestion lang,” said the President last night.
Himself a motorcycle enthusiast, Duterte said he would also talk to the law’s author, Sen. Richard Gordon for the law’s suspension.
“Sasabihin ko sa kanya na sa ibang countries walang plate number sa harap, dyan lang sa likod,” said the President.
LTO chief Edgar Galvante who also attended the convention indicated he was open to the idea.
“We’re still drafting the new law’s Implementing Rules and Regulations. We were given 90 days,” he said.
The President signed the law on March 8.
Under the new law, a motorcycle owner must register his motorcycle within five days after purchase, and failure to do so would result in imprisonment or a fine of not less than P25,000.
Driving without a bigger number plate can result in imprisonment and a fine of P50,000 to P100,000. For the President, this is “masyadong mataas.”
“Maybe as compromise, I’m willing [to lower it to] P10,000 to P15,000,” said Duterte.
Enforcers will also confiscate the motorcycle and it will only be released upon proof of ownership and “payment of the costs of seizure, and compliance with a number plate or readable number plate.”
Law enforcers may also face jail time if they are unable to report or surrender a seized motorcycle within 24 hours.
The use of stolen plates will also have a fine of P50,000 to P100,000.
If proven that a motorcycle was used for a crime of grave felony or escape from the scene of a crime, its owner, driver and passenger will face 12 to 40 years in prison.
An impounding center will also be set up and a digital data of seized motorcycles will be shared real-time with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and LTO.
The Joint LTO and PNP Operations and Control Center will have a hotline to address concerns relating to crimes committed with the use of motorcycles.
Motorcycle owners will have to renew their registration and apply for the new number plates before June 30 this year.
The LTO will have to produce and release the plates by Dec. 31, 2019. By next year, the penal provisions of the new law will take effect./PN