Earlier this month, we published a story about the Land Transportation Office’s (LTO) call to partner-riders to have their top bxoes registered with the agency. The news item makes special mention of soft boxes used by motorcycle couriers (Grabfood, Lalamove, MoveIt and the like) to carry their deliveries.
Understandably, this was met with some confusion. One of our readers messaged us disputing the news, saying that these softboxes — which come with straps to carry on one's back — are considered as “bags”, and therefore, exempt from the regulation.
That regulation is from an LTO memo dated March 15, 2016, entitled “Guidelines On Inspection and Apprehension Relative To Motorcycle Top Boxes And Saddlebags”. In this memo, the LTO made it clear that a “top box is a storage compartment fitted behind the seat of a motorcycle or scooter and is considered a motorcycle accessory.”
We contacted LTO executive director, Atty. Romeo Vera Cruz — LTO's point person for statutes or regulations that affect the motorcycle riding public — to clarify the ruling.
We specifically asked if this covers the soft boxes that are commonly used by the thousands of motorcycle couriers today.
“[Those] softboxes are covered and are subject to the regulation,” said Atty. Vera Cruz, confirming that they are covered by the 2016 memo.
Harsh penalties await those who do not comply. The memo says, “custom-made top boxes that are not registered are subject to apprehension with a penalty of PhP5,000 pursuant to the Department of Transportation (DOTr, formerly DOTC) joint administrative order 2014-01 Sec. II-D.”
We hope this clears up any gray area or misunderstanding to avoid any hassle on the road.
Also, the LTO would like to remind our fellow partner-riders to properly secure a professional driver’s license as required by the Republic Act 4136 or the Land Transportation and Code, Article II Section 3 E. It states that a “professional driver” shall mean every and any driver hired or paid for driving or operating a motor vehicle, whether for private use or for hire to the public (PUV).