More than 75,000 motorcycle riders in Metro Manila, plus another estimated 45,000 outside NCR, came together Sunday to hold what is currently the biggest Unity Ride ever in the Philippines!
In this occasion, to show their outrage against the recently signed Double Plate Law which the riders tagged as ‘anti-poor’.
The motorcycle riders decried Republic Act 11235 or the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act of 2017, authored by Sen. Richard Gordon and Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, which was signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte last week.
RA11235 aims to address the rising number of crimes perpetrated by motorcycle-riding gunmen, particularly these riding in tandem by making their two-wheeled vehicles more easily identifiable.
The law thus mandates the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to issue bigger reflectorized license plates which must be placed in both front and rear parts of the motorcycle. The plate numbers should be big enough to be readable even from 12 to 15 meters away.
The motorcycle riders cited safety issues as their main concern over RA11235. The front-mounted plate may become detached due to several factors including vibration, wind, or just simply the failure of the material to hold the plate. This poses a big risk to both the motorcycle rider and the pillion, as well as to pedestrians and other road users.
“Old and new motorcycles don’t have the provisions for a front-mounted plate. Adding a bracket outside of factory specifications will surely pose a big risk for the riders, their passenger, and even the pedestrians,” stressed Jobert Bolaños of the Motorcycle Rights Organization (MRO).“And not all motorcycles have the same front design that can accommodate stickers or decals which takes away uniformity. And without uniformity, there is subjectivity,” Bolaños added.
The riders also claimed that there were no proper consultations from experts and motorcycle riders to determine whether installing bigger plates on both front and back is feasible or safe, and if it is even applicable to all types of motorcycles.
“Motorcycle riders have been hampered by several ordinances and laws that sometimes we think that we are being outcast in our own society,” Rod Cruz, chairman of the Arangkada Riders Alliance, stated. “RA11235 is by far the worst law of all so you cannot blame us for doing this nationwide call for fairness and equality. Please do not treat us like criminals.”
The motorcycle riders all claimed that motorcycle-riding criminals would still be able to commit crimes by simply taking off the license plates, as the criminals have always been doing, or simply using fake license plates to mislead authorities.
The authors of the law were earlier quoted as saying that by increasing the size and visibility of the motorcycle plates to be able to read the plate numbers from a distance, witnesses and law enforcement agencies are aided in the identification of motorcycle riders who are involved in accidents or criminal activities.
“Safety is of paramount importance to Angkas. That is why we do not agree with the provision requiring the installing of big metal plates at the front of motorcycles,” noted Angkas Head of Regulatory and Public Affairs George Royeca, whose Angkas rider-partners came in the thousands to join the Unity Ride.
“This piece of legislation is discriminatory, considering that most motorcycle riders belong to the masses and they are not only tagged as criminals, they are made to suffer the consequences for things they didn’t do,” Bolaños stressed. “This law is both oppressive and anti-poor.”