Public protest against the law planned

It is only less than two weeks until the President decides whether to veto or sign into law the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act of 2017, based on Senate Bill 1397 and House Bill 8419. If it is not signed by President Duterte, nor vetoed, it will lapse into law after March 8, 30 days after it was received by Malacañang. 

The law, dubbed by motorcycle riders as the 'Doble Plaka law', based on the provision for two plates carried over from Senate Bill 1397, authored by Senator Richard 'Dick' Gordon and Senator Vicente 'Tito' Sotto, will require all registered motorcycles to be equipped with two license plates; one in front and one behind of a specified size larger than the current license plate. Until recently, motorcycles were only required to be fitted with one license plate behind. The bill was proposed to more easily identify motorcycles and potentially crack down on crimes such as murder and theft, perpetrated by motorcycle-riding criminals. Motorcycle groups have expressed oppostion to one particular provision of the law: the required mounting of a front plate, made of aluminum.

Motorcycle riders and groups have already expressed their disapproval. More recently, motorcycle dealers, have expressed their opposition as well.

“It is clearly unconstitutional.” said Edwin Go, president of the Motorcycle Dealers Association of the Philippines during a phone interview. The law will affect all types of registered motorcycles, regardless of the year of their manufacture. Violators of the law can expect to pay a very hefty fine of PhP50,000. The association president described the bill as “brazenly profiling innocent motorcycle riders as criminals.” “On the technical side, current motorcycle designs have no means to put an additional bracket for the front plate, and if mounted incorrectly, may cause harm to the rider and pillion in the event it detaches.”

With growing dissent against the proposed law by Senator Gordon and Sotto, various motorcycle groups are planning a "very big and widespread" protest before March 8 (the day the bill will lapse into law). The protest is intended to exhibit the motorcycle riding community's unity in its stand against what they perceive to be prejudicial to all motorcycle riders of both big and small bikes. It is hoped that the protest will draw the attention of the President, a self-confessed rider, to veto the bill.