A few days ago, the Municipality of Polomolok, South Cotabato, passed General Ordinance 14 Series of 2022. Under the new ordinance, motorcycles and tricycles with engine displacements of 299cc and below cannot emit an exhaust sound of more than 80 decibels.

The ordinance was authored by Coun. Paul Jordan Reyes.

Polomolok to penalize riders if muffler sound exceeds 80dbA image

Under Section 5 of General Ordinance 14 Series of 2022, it says that “It shall be strictly prohibited for all motorcycles and/or vehicles having an engine power and/or displacement of 299cc and below that have modified aftermarket pipes/mufflers, emitting more than 80dbA sound and/or noise to travel and/or ply along provincial, municipal, streets, alleys, pathways and/or passageways within the territorial jurisdiction of Polomolok, be it registered or not with the Land Transportation Office (LTO).”

Polomolok to penalize riders if muffler sound exceeds 80dbA image

General Ordinance 14 Series of 2022 is expected to take effect 15 days after its publication in a major newspaper in circulation in the said municipality. The penalty is set at PHP 500 for the first offense, PHP 1,000 for the second offense, and PHP 2,000 for the third and subsequent offenses, including confiscation of the exhaust system that is not in accordance with the said ordinance.

“Legal extortion”

Motorcycle Rights Organization (MRO), which is headed by Jobert Bolanos, was not happy with the new ordinance and called it “legal extortion”.

Polomolok to penalize riders if muffler sound exceeds 80dbA image

“These aftermarket exhaust pipes are legally imported into the country or are fabricated in shops and are being sold in shops then its use is prohibited? [Is it] legal extorsion?” says Bolanos in a statement.

MRO further added that, under existing laws and international standards, the current decibel limit imposed by the LTO is 99 decibels. For comparison, according to this paper by Yale Environmental Health and Safety, city traffic, with all the cars and other background noises, is already at 85 dbA. A telephone dial tone is measured at 80 dbA.

“Below 299cc? So the ordinance is selective isn’t it? When the law doesn't apply to all, it shouldn't apply at all. That’s basic constitutional rule. The moment it becomes selective, it is deemed as discriminatory,” added Bolanos.