MANILA, Philippines – Putting two bigger registration plates on motorcycles in the Philippines is "not discriminatory" but a necessary action, according to Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Oscar Albayalde.
"I don't think that is discrimination. This is part of security, security of the whole Philippines, not only to anybody, but for all. The government saw that we can avoid the riding-in-tandem incidents with this," Albayalde said in a mix of English and Filipino in a press briefing on Monday, March 25.
He added: "This is not discriminatory. This is all part of the peace and security of the whole nation."
Why the reaction? This comes after some 10,000 motorcycle riders protested the law, crying that they are being discriminated for riding motorbikes.
The Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act orders the Land Transportation Office to produce motorcycle plates that are "readable from the front, back, and the side...from the distance of at least 15 meters." Each motorbike also needs to attach a plate both in front and at the back.
Motorbike users have flagged having 2 big plates (doble plaka) as both an eyesore and a danger as it may hit people and vehicles.
Why is it needed? Albayalde said that it is necessary for safety since riding-in-tandem criminals are "very difficult" to pursue even if they are using plated motorbikes.
Signed on March 8 by President Rodrigo Duterte, the law was approved in the face of crimes associated with criminals on motorbikes like riding-in-tandem shootings.
"Kahit nga mga sasakyan nga pinapalitan natin ang plate numbers eh (Even cars change plate numbers)," Albayalde said. – Rappler.com