PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law a measure requiring "bigger, readable, and color-coded" number plates for motorcycles, in a bid to prevent the commission of crimes using the said vehicles.
Duterte signed Republic Act (RA) 11235, mandating the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to determine the font style and size of the bigger, readable and color-coded number plates for motorcycles.
"The contents of the number plates shall be readable from the front, the back, and the side of the motorcycle from a distance of at least 15 meters from the motorcycle," the law, otherwise known as the Motorcycle Prevention Act, 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.
The law states that the readable number plates must be displayed in "both the front and back sides of a motorcycle" and should be made of "suitable and durable material" determined by the LTO.
The owner of a motorcycle is mandated to register his vehicle with the LTO within five days from acquisition of ownership. He is also mandated to immediately report any sale or disposition of motorcycle to the LTO.
Driving without a number plate is prohibited, thus the drivers shall be punished by prision correccional or a fine of up to P100,000, the law provides.
"A motorcycle driven without a number plate or a readable number plate shall be stopped, and such motorcycle shall be seized by law enforcers and immediately surrendered to the Philippine National Police (PNP)," RA 11235 said.
"The owner of such motorcycle may redeem his or her seized motorcycle from the LTO upon proof of ownership, payment for the costs of seizure, and compliance with a number plate or readable number plate," it added.
The owner who participated in the commission of a crime using motorcycle constituting a grave felony under the Revised Penal Code will be punished by reclusion temporal to reclusion perpetua.
If the number plate is lost, damaged, or stolen, the motorcycle owner should immediately report to the LTO and the PNP and request a replacement. Failure to report will subject the owner to a fine of up to P50,000.
A person guilty of erasing, tampering, altering, forging, imitating, covering, or concealing a number plate will have to pay a fine of up to P100,000.
Meantime, a fine of up to P100,000 will also be slapped against anyone who uses a stolen number plate.
The law also creates a congressional oversight committee that will review and assess the implementation of Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act.
The oversight panel will be composed of five members each from the Senate and the House of Representatives. It will be co-chaired by chairpersons of Senate justice committee and House transportation committee.
An initial funding of P150 million for the implementation of RA 11235 will be sourced from the General Appropriations Act.
Duterte signed RA 11235 on March 8, but Palace released a copy of the newly-signed law just on Thursday, March 14. (SunStar Philippines)