Riders’ woes on 2nd SPMJ Forum
MOTORING TODAY - Ray Butch Gamboa (The Philippine Star) - September 5, 2018 - 12:00am

The members of the Society of Philippine Motoring Journalists (SPMJ) got together once again, joined by other distinguished members of the media, for the 2nd SPMJ Forum, an organized gathering of journalists, which is aimed to hear and question invited resource speakers representing the different sides of current issues for the purpose of coming up with more accurate and in depth reporting to the public.

The first SPMJ Forum, which was held last April 18, had lawyer Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) chairman Martin Delgra as one of the resource speakers who spoke lengthily about the government’s PUVMP or Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program. He was joined by Art Balmadrid of Tata Motors Philippines and Joseph Bautista from Isuzu Philippines, who came to explain how the local auto industry would participate in the said ambitious program that also aims to decommission all PUVs that are 15 years old and above.

The second gathering of the Fourth Estate that specializes on the motoring beat, which was held at Ayala’s plush Seda Vertis North Hotel in Quezon City tackled the current burning issue of motorcycle riders perception and allegation that they are being discriminated upon by law enforcers.

The allegations were elucidated during the forum by Jobert Bolaños, representing the organization known as Riders of the Philippines, while the government’s stand on the issue were offered by the PNP Highway Patrol Group (HPG) Chief Roberto Fajardo and Land Transportation Office (LTO) Law Enforcement Section director Francis Rey Almora.

Bolaños said that one of the issues is “that motorcycle riders are being told by traffic officials to remove their helmets while on the road, which is the opposite to what the law requires.” According to him, “this creates confusion among riders.”

He also recalled the event in Vigan City where its local government released an ordinance prohibiting riders to wear helmets for identity and crime-prevention purposes. “It was called out by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) OIC Catalino Cuy with a memo citing that it’s against the Helmet Law. However, it continued despite the memo from the DILG.”

Still in the topic of laws, Bolaños continued his presentation by citing the different misinterpretation of laws. One of the major issues is the use of auxiliary lights in motorcycles. According to him, the use of LED lights has become an issue, which led the LTO to release a guideline on the proper use of these lights on motorcycles. However, he stressed that in the recent months, there has been an operational mandate wherein all auxiliary lights are being confiscated which caused them several problems.

Another issue that was brought up during the forum involves “riding in tandem.” Riders have the feeling that whenever they have a back rider many of the police view them with suspicion, as many crimes have been committed reportedly by those in such transport mode.

During the forum, all the three issues were aptly addressed by the gentlemen representing the PNP HPG and the LTO. We shall reserve that for next week’s column. I invite all our interested riders to watch out for that.

Will citation tickets do the job?

Arguably the MMDA’s relentless campaign to clear streets, especially those used as alternative routes to decongest EDSA has been working well, what with vehicles currently breezing through smaller streets that used to be parking lots or auto repair shops, ambulant vendors with stay-in stores and the like.

Having said that, many motorists are now quite apprehensive about the MMDA’s latest announcement that it would stop actual towing and removal of these street obstructions but instead rely on the issuance of traffic violation tickets.

Some are saying that most Filipinos are not so conscious about sanctions for violations that would come at a later time compared to actual real-time consequence for infractions, such as towing.

The MMDA’s rationale of avoiding confrontations with erring vehicle owners, which sometimes get violent with this contactless approach may have some sense but perhaps a more tactical approach like the presence of more police officers during clearing campaigns could avert such incidents.

Will the issuance of traffic violation citations clear our streets of obstructions?

We just hope it does. But if it won’t, I hope the MMDA would once again show it’s political will to implement what needs to be implemented — the MMDA may not know it but it has been been getting a lot of pogi points from the public for demonstrating its will.

People’s Choice Awards Prizes for voters’ raffle

The ante has been leveled up for those who participate in this year’s search for the most preferred automobile models in each category and the most popular or the Automobile of the Year-People’s Choice separately for Standard and Premium Luxury models.

The daily electronic raffles that give away mugs and t-shirts for lucky voters now has a Grand Raffle version by the end of the voting in September where all the names of those who voted will be included based on the number of times they voted — more times to vote, more chances.

The prizes would be a Vivo Y53C for the third prize, a Huawei Nova 2 Lite for second prize and for the grand prize, it’ll be a Samsung Galaxy J8.

Vote now and win a prize!

Happy Motoring!!!

For comments:(email) sunshine.television@yahoo.com (website) www.motoringtoday.ph

SOCIETY OF PHILIPPINE MOTORING JOURNALISTS
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