Senator wants revisit of motorcycle ‘doble-plaka’ law

SENATOR Leila de Lima urged her colleagues to revisit Republic Act (RA) 11235 or the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Law to prevent its adverse impact on the millions of law-abiding riders and motorcycle owners, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In filing Senate Resolution (SR) No. 469, De Lima said  the government should focus their limited resources on apprehending and prosecuting criminals instead of overburdening law-abiding motorcycle owners.

“With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, not only are government offices like the [Land Transportation Office] LTO operating at reduced capacity, but the use of motorcycles have become more prevalent following the ban on, or limited operations of, public transportation,” she said.

“Before the government can penalize those who could not comply with the strict obligations under R.A. No. 11235, there must first be a determination that the LTO is capable of meeting the accompanying bureaucratic requirements under this law, lest this would be tantamount to requiring an impossible task of the motorcycle owners,” she added.

RA 11235 or the “Doble Plaka” law, which was signed by President Duterte as early as March 29, 2019, requires all types of motorcycles to have bigger number plates in the front and back as it sets fines of up to P100,000 and imprisonment for violators.

A month after signing it into law, however, Mr. Duterte asked Congress to reconsider the provisions pertaining to the size and the material of the front number plate and called for the reduction of the penalties on certain violations under the law.

LTO Chief Edgar Galvante signed the 13-page Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of RA 11235 stipulating that the LTO shall issue a set of bigger, readable, and color-coded number plate for every motorcycle, which shall consist of a metal number plate to be installed at the rear of a motorcycle, and a decal number plate to be displayed in its front, last May 11,

According to the IRR, the front decal will be 135mm wide and 85mm tall while the rear plate, which shall be made from a “suitable and durable aluminum substrate material”, will be 235mm wide and 135mm tall.

While the IRR became effective last June 6, the LTO said the portion requiring the placement of revised plates will be suspended until the plates become available in their office between July and September.

“Motorcycle rider groups decried this law stating that license plates compliant with this law will compromise the safety of the motorcycles.

“While the matter of the plates are being procured, the extremely disproportionate penalties are still in effect, making it very difficult for motorcycles to operate,” De Lima said.