TWG to harmonize bills on larger motorcycle license plates

The House committees on transportation and public order and safety chaired by Reps. Cesar Sarmiento (Lone District, Catanduanes) and Romeo Acop (2nd District, Antipolo), respectively, approved the creation of a technical working group (TWG) that will fine-tune proposals to use larger license plates to curb motorcycle crimes.

The committees named Rep. Rozzano Rufino Biazon (Lone District, Muntinlupa) as TWG head.

During their joint deliberations this week, the two committees discussed House Bill 5381 authored by Rep. Victor Yap, HB 5714 by Deputy Speaker Ferdinand Hernandez, HB 5839 by Rep. Reynaldo Umali, and HB 6226 by Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte, which all seek to battle criminality, in light of the large number of crimes using motorcycles.

The bills propose to deter crimes committed with the use of motorcycles by requiring larger motorcycle plate numbers, identification marks, and punishment for those who commit crime through or with a backrider.

Per Philippine National Police 2011 statistics, there were 1,700 recorded crime incidents involving riding-in-tandem suspects, with 2,089 victims. These figures show an increase in crime incidents compared to the 2,565 recorded cases with 1,819 victims in 2010. In 2013, the PNP recorded over 3,000 crimes committed by motorcycle drivers in Metro Manila alone.

With the decrease in price of motorcycles in the market, this two-wheeled vehicle becomes readily available and accessible to criminals or those intending to use it as a getaway vehicle. The proliferation of motorcycles in the main thoroughfares has likewise worsened and their power identification is warranted to regulate its use for legitimate purposes only, said Hernandez.

Resource person Jobert Bolanos of Riders of the Philippines said a feasible way to implement larger plates is to follow the size of European plates. However, mounting issues may arise as front plates are not currently mandated for motorcycles and manufacturers do not account for it in designing the vehicles. Pedestrians may be at risk of getting injured by plates that fly off.

Bolanos further cited potential problems in supply, given that the Land Transportation Office has failed to release on time thousands of license plates that have already been paid for by motorists.

Virgilio MontaAo of the Motorcycle Development Program Participants Association, Inc.�Kawasaki said that plates that are too large may interfere with signal lights and steering of certain two-wheeled motor vehicle models.

Instead, reflective decals may better serve the objective of the bills by making the vehicles more visible, said MontaAo.

Moreover, the provisions of the bills levy penalties such as reclusion perpetua or reclusion temporal for commission of motorcycle crimes that result in death or injury of the victim. Failure to comply with requirement of larger plates or report loss of plates in a timely manner, meanwhile, can be met with up to P50,000 in fines.

Source: House of Representatives

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