As thousands of motorcycle riders held a motorcade to oppose the newly-signed law mandating the use of bigger and double license plates, Malacañang on Monday urged the protesters to address their grievances in the courts.
“If they feel it’s unconstitutional, then they can always raise that before the courts,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a Palace press briefing.
According to the Palace official, President Rodrigo Duterte, a known motorcycle enthusiast, stands by the legislation.
“Well, he has signed it... Everyone should comply. No exception,” Panelo added.
On Sunday, some 120,000 motorcycle riders nationwide gathered to show their opposition against the recently-signed double-plate law, claiming that its implementation would become dangerous, discriminating, and anti-poor.
Motorcycle rider groups slammed the passage of Republic Act 11235, or the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act of 2017. The measure, authored by Senator Richard Gordon and Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, was signed into law by Duterte last week.
Under the new legislation, the Land Transportation Office shall issue bigger, readable, and color-coded license plates to every motorcycle in the country.
“The LTO shall determine the font style and size of the number plates provided that the contents of the number plates shall be readable from the front, the back, and the side of the motorcycle from a distance of t least 15 meters from the motorcycle,” the RA read.
“The LTO shall also devise a color scheme of the readable number plates for every region in the Philippines where a motorcycle is registered for quick and easy identification,” it added.
These readable number plates must then be displayed in both the front and back sides of the motorcycle and should be made of suitable and durable material as determined by the LTO.
“The utilization of voluntary and paid labor from prisoners shall be among the requirements to bid for the procurement of the number plates under this Act,” the law stated.
Some groups, however, were against its passage.
Jobert Bolanos of the Motorcycle Rights Organization argued that 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," he said.
Rod Cruz, chairman of the Arangkada Riders Alliance, said that motorcycle riders have been burdened with several ordinances and regulations.
"Motorcycle riders have been hampered by several ordinances and laws that sometimes we think that we are being outcast in our own society,” Cruz said.
“RA 11235 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," he added.
The law was crafted to address the rising number of crimes perpetrated by motorcycle-riding gunmen by making their bikes more easily identifiable.
The government has allocated an initial funding of P150,000,000 for the implementation of the new law.
However, the LTO, along with other concerned agencies, has yet to formulate the Implementing Rules and Regulations to push the provisions of the said act within a non-extendible period of 90 days from its effectivity.