Motorcyclists outraged over huge plate number
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Philippine Star) - March 21, 2019 - 12:00am

Motorcyclists on big and small bikes are using the social media to denounce the proposal of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to replace the old plate numbers with bigger plates and to include a plate number in front of the motorcycle. I gathered that this week, Sen. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito presided over a meeting with officials of the LTO and riders clubs, who are involved in the crafting of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Republic Act 11235 or the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act. If indeed the reason for increasing the size of the plate number is to curb crime, I beg to disagree simply because criminals never use a legitimate plate number on the motorcycles they use in a crime.

I learned that President Duterte has signed a law requiring larger, readable and color-coded number plates for motorcycles as part of crime prevention efforts. Sen. JV Ejercito said he took the initiative to meet stakeholders to be affected by the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act to ensure that their concerns will be addressed in crafting the IRR. Sen. JV Ejercito said, “There was outrage among the riders during the signing of the Motorcycle (Crime Prevention) Act. Most of them surmised that we would have two metal plates. I understand the sentiments of the riders because it’s really their safety that will be somehow compromised.”

At least we also learned that Assistant Secretary Edgar Galvante of the LTO is open to suggestions on what size of plate the LTO should use. For me, I don’t mind a bigger plate number perhaps double the size of the original one. Assistant Sec. Galvante prefers decals in lieu of metal plates, either decal or RFID which is even better so that we will become high-tech. I also agree with this proposal so that it would be easier for the police to determine the ownership of the motorcycle.

This coming first week of April is the 25th National Federation of Motorcycle Clubs in the Philippines (NFMCP) convention which would be held in Iloilo City. I have attended our bike convention since we began the first in Tagaytay. But I have not attended the NFMCP convention for two years now since I’ve had my kidney transplant two years ago. However I’m back to riding my bikes, but not for long travels. I have been riding motorcycles since 1973 and at that time, I had the biggest motorcycle in the Cycluns Motorcycle Club in Cebu. Those were the days when motorcycles were a small bunch of daredevils. How times have changed in the Philippines. Today, we have become what Taipei used to be 25 years ago, full of two wheelers.

Anyway, back to that meeting of bikers with Sen. JV Ejercito who said that “Three main issues were discussed. First, the plates in front of motorcycles should already be decals or RFID. Second, the hefty fines will only be imposed if there is already a command center. And the harassment by some authorities on motorcycle riders.” The LTO will determine the font style and size of the number plates and devise a color scheme of the plates for every region where a motorcycle is registered for easy identification. The LTO also wants to install RFID chips on the new license plates to make it easier to identify individual motorcycles. He said the LTO already does this for license plates for four-wheeled vehicles to make it easier to retrieve registration information about the vehicle.

At this point, allow me to suggest to Assistant Sec. Galvante that the issue of the IRR for the plate number should be the main topic for the NFMCP convention in Iloilo City which is less than a month away. Mind you, during the last NFMCP convention I attended was in Cebu when our special guest was then Mayor Rodrigo Duterte whom we motorcyclists all over the country supported in his presidential candidacy. I’m sure President Duterte hasn’t forgotten this. Mind you, years ago when we travelled to Davao City during one of the bike conventions, I found out that Mayor Duterte and I had the same Yamaha Virago 1100cc motorcycle.

Yesterday I saw uploaded on Facebook, Mayor Sara Duterte riding her motorcycle from Catarman, Samar to Tacloban City… a six-hour ride. I have more respect for Mayor Sara Duterte now that I know that she is also like her father a motorcycle rider. Anyway, I hope we can resolve this issue on the new motorcycle plates in the bike convention in Iloilo City.

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The latest news on the gruesome killing of 16-year-old Christine Lee Silawan was the arrest of her former boyfriend, a 17-year-old boy, whom the NBI identified to be with her as shown on the CCTV footage as the last person seen with her. The police arrested the boy at his residence in Barangay Maribago, Lapu-Lapu City by virtue of a search warrant issued by Regional Trial Court Judge Ramon Daomilas. The boy did not resist arrest. At this time, we can only hope that the police authorities have found the real killer.

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