Government reactions to riders’ grievances
Last week on this column we gave way to the country’s motorcycle riders’ perception that they are being discriminated against by law enforcers specifically on certain issues. A wholesome and decent open discussion of the involved parties’ distinct stands on the issue was organized by SPMJ (Society of Philippine Motoring Journalists), a group of editors, columnists and print, broadcast and online journalists covering the motoring beat via the 2nd SPMJ FORUM. This was held at Ayala’s top-notched hotel in Quezon City, the Seda Vertis North.
The forum’s aim is to get together representatives of all the sides of a significant public issue for a discourse of their individual positions on the subject at hand, which the journalists present can dissect through a freewheeling Q and A session for them to have a deeper understanding of the topic to ensure a better perceived reporting to the public.
The riders’ lament was expounded by Jobert Bolaños, representing the Riders of the Philippines, which were basically on some LGUs’ prohibition of the wearing of helmets while riding to ensure better identification, the confusing and flip-flopping rules on auxiliary lights and other modifications and the prohibition of “riding in tandem” by some LGUs.
In response, the PNP Highway Patrol Group (HPG) Chief Gen. Roberto Fajardo declared that they give importance to the riders as much as they give importance to other road users when it comes to road safety. With that said, the HPG says that, “We are prohibiting local government units from releasing memos that prohibit the use of helmets.” This is their response to the issue raised by the motorcycle organization with regard to their confusion about the Motorcycle Helmet Law.
As for the issue of auxiliary lights and other modifications, the head of the Law Enforcement Section of the LTO (Land Transportation Office) Director Francis Almora says they allow the changing of parts by a replacement of the original design and function; otherwise, it can be considered as a modification, which is prohibited.
As for the “riding in tandem” issue, both law enforcement officials agree that the law allows for a motorcycle to have two passengers: the front and the back rider.
The HPG Chief emphasized though the prohibition by law to have a child who’s not big enough to reach the footrest to be allowed to be a second passenger of a motorbike.
In the same forum, for the manufacturers’ side, MDPPA (Motorcycle Development Program Participants Association) president Armando Reyes cited their road safety advocacy for the riders. MDPPA said they conduct extensive campaigns and activities to educate riders as well as pedestrians on safety while on the road. He also made known the MDPPA’s concerned participation in advancing riders’ interests by submitting position papers on proposed bills, ordinances and IRRs to the government regarding riders’ rights.
Cebu Eco- Trail 2018 : The Cebu Eco-Trail 4x4 Challenge started yesterday, September 16 with assembly at Ayala Heights. The participants and crew will head up to Danasan Eco Adventure Park in Danao for race proper. Awarding Ceremonies will be in the same venue on September 18.