By now, you should have already heard about the news that the “Doble Plaka” bill, which was heavily based on the Senate Bill 1397 authored by Sen. Richard 'Dick' Gordon and Sen. Vicente 'Tito' Sotto III, was approved and signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte last March 8 and was released to the public yesterday. But wait, there's more!
Under the new law, Republic Act 11235 or the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act, Section 19 stipulates that “Motorcycle owners with number plates not in conformity with the provisions of this Act, shall renew their registration and apply for the required readable number plate not later than June 30, 2019.” and it further states that “The LTO is given until December 31, 2019 to produce, release and issue the number plates required by this act. After December 31, 2019, the penal provisions regarding the use of bigger, readable and color-coded number plates as required under this act shall take effect” - which translates to up to PhP100,000 in penalty including jail time.
Another provision in RA 11235 that raised eyebrows is Section 14. It states that “No person, whether natural or juridical, shall be allowed to sell motorcycles, as defined under Section 3 of this Act” and it further states that “The Bureau of Customs (BOC) shall not allow the importation into the country of motorcycles, whose design will impede the placement of the required number plate on the front and back sides of the motorcycles firmly and securely” and “Any motorcycle which does not have any capability to bear and showcase the required readable plate shall not be allowed to be registered with the LTO.” As we all know, ALL motorcycles here in the country, old and new, big and small are just not designed to handle a front-mounted plate number due to technical and safety concerns, raising a lot of questions from the motorcycle manufacturers and its dealers.
Assuming that the LTO which is tasked to create the Implementing Rules and Regulations or IRR would take two weeks to formulate their directives, motorcycle riders would then have less than two months or even less, to renew registration of their already registered motorcycles in compliance with this new law. It is another time-consuming effort and financial burden for the millions of motorcycle riders here in the Philippines. Motorcycle groups of big and small bikes had since raised the question: "why are we being penalized for something that we - motorcycle riders, have nothing to do with?" - referring to the government's incompetence in solving crimes perpetrated by criminals using motorcycles.