LTO begins nationwide consultation for ‘doble plaka’ law

Rider clubs, motorcycle manufacturers, and other stakeholders have been invited to join
by Aris Ilagan | Apr 11, 2019
PHOTO: Aris Ilagan

To suspend or not to suspend: This must now be the dilemma of Land Transportation Office (LTO) chief Edgar Galvante after his agency was given instructions by President Rodrigo Duterte last week to temporarily shelve the implementation of Republic Act No. 11235, otherwise known as the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act or the ‘doble plaka’ law.

Brief summary: Duterte wants to change RA 11235’s provision that requires motorcycles to have front license plates, saying that such plates pose a danger to riders. The Chief Executive also wants to lower the P50,000 fine for violators of the said requirement, describing it as “excessive” and “unfair.”

What’s clear as of now is that Galvante will continue to hold consultative meetings with stakeholders—rider clubs, motorcycle manufacturers, road-safety advocates, and law-enforcement authorities, among others—to get their input prior to drafting the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of RA 11235. He has personally sent out letters to motorcycle clubs to request their attendance at the first meeting tomorrow, April 12, 2019, 10am, at the LTO Central Office in Quezon City. In his letter, he has even asked leaders of motorcycle clubs to relay via-email their suggestions on how to fine-tune the ‘doble plaka’ law so they can come up with a win-win solution for all parties.

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Similar invitations have been sent out by LTO regional officials to rider organizations in different parts of the country, where consultative meetings will likewise be held.

The Motorcycle Philippines Federation (MCPF), which is under the leadership of Arturo ‘Atoy’ Sta. Cruz and is one of the biggest motorcycle organizations in the country, has expressed its intention to participate in the dialogue. Members of MCPF say they did not expect the President, himself a rider, to favor the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act, which they’ve described as “discriminatory.” Duterte later admitted, however, that some of the law’s contentious provisions had escaped his attention, so he is now pushing for changes to be made to RA 11235.

MCPF is appealing to the country’s legislators to amend RA 11235—particularly the provision that mandates the use of front license plates, which they presume will be made of metal—once the session begins for the 18th Congress. The controversial law is orginally scheduled to be implemented on June 30 this year, although Malacañang and Congress are giving conflicting signals to the LTO as regards its implementation.

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For now, we can only hope that something positive comes out of this first consultative meeting.

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PHOTO: Aris Ilagan
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