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Highway Robbery September 23, 2008

Posted by Maddog in Politics and Law.
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It seems to me the greatest irony that a nation blessed with as much talent and resources as the Philippines should also be cursed with some of the most incompetent, stupid, uncaring, and corrupt leaders ever to walk the earth. That sad situation has again been brought to the fore by the mindless machinations of another corruption-ridden government agency: the Land Transportatiion Office (LTO).

In a mind-boggling display of idiocy, the LTO has decided to implement an Administrative Order that, among other things, prohibits “unauthorized” modifications to the original designs of motorcycles. There are no other qualifications or specifications to this ban, and it can easily be interpreted to include even those modifications that actually improve safety and performance, as well as non-safety related modifications such as using non-original yet harmless aftermarket accessories!

In other words, if you so much intend to put better tires on your bike to replace bald, worn out original tires, you need some “approval” from the DTI! So if your replacement tires are of a superior design or material, but “unapproved”, you can be fined for improving your ride.

I have been told that the author of this unbelievably idiotic order is a certain Daisy P. Jacobo, Chief of the Traffic Safety Division (the office is on East Avenue in Quezon City, with telephone number 921-9058). It seems we ought to ask: Is Ms. Jacobo a rider or does she knows anything at all about riding and motorcycle safety?

Motorcycle owners, parts suppliers, and service shops are understandably concerned as they will be adversely affected. As part of their reaction, there will be a coordinated national protest ride at 10:00AM, September 27, 2008 (Saturday). I expect thousands of bikes sporting black and red protest ribbons to join and express their disgust and opposition to this latest money-making scam from the LTO.

I’ll be posting more information on this usse in the coming weeks. In the meantime, here is a petition being circulated in Cebu against the the LTO’s Administrative Order.

Petition Against LTO Administrative Order-2008-015

We are motorcycle owners, parts suppliers, service providers, and concerned citizens interested in justice and fair application of the rule of law. As such, we demand that certain provisions of LTO Administrative Order AHS 2008-015 be altogether disregarded, discarded, and otherwise be permanently kept from implementation.

The provisions in question are Section VIII: Motorcycle and Scooter Accessories, part of which states:

“Any modification of the original standard design of a motorcycle or scooter shall first be subject to the approval of LTO and the DTI.”

And Section XI: Penal and Other Provisions, part d, which states:

“d) For modifying any part of the original designs of a motorcycle or scooter without approval of the LTO and the DTI, a fine of Two Thousand Pesos (P2,000.00).”

We believe that prohibiting modifications to motorcycles is a misguided and unfair imposition for the following reasons:

  1. It is unsafe. This provision prevents motorcycle owners and riders from improving their vehicles by adding better and safer equipment such as better tires with superior traction, more powerful brakes, brakes with anti-lock mechanisms, accessory lights to increase visibility, stronger and more reactive suspension, fuel saving free-flow exhausts, and other improvements.We also note that standard motorcycle repair practices often entail some form of modification, especially when original parts are no longer available, but good and safe substitute aftermarket parts can be found.
  2. It is vague. The provision can be widely interpreted to prohibit any and all modifications, including the ones mentioned above that improve safety, as well as other aesthetic modifications which do not negatively affect safety or proper identification in any way.Furthermore, the LTO or DTI do not have the proper test equipment or competence to determine the safety of most motorcycle modification, especially those modifications that are not clearly manifest to be unsafe.
  3. It encourages corruption. We believe that enforcement of these provisions will lead to absurd citations of violations that have nothing to do with safety, and will instead be used to harass and extort money from motorcycle users, service providers, and parts suppliers.
  4. It is not based on any sound research or evidence. The LTO has not — and cannot — cite any sound scientific or safety-related reasons for the blanket prohibition of modifications to motorcycles. As pointed out above, many of these modifications make motorcycles safer, more economical, and perform better, yet these will be subject to prohibition under this vague provision.
  5. It harms legitimate businesses. There are over 2 million registered motorcycles in the Philippines. Thousands of Filipinos are engaged in providing and installing aftermarket parts for these motorcycles. Thousands more are engaged in repairing them, using aftermarket parts that are often even better than original parts. All of these persons, however, will be adversely affected by this prohibition. Their markets will disappear and prices for limited supplies will rapidly increase.

In view of these reasons we denounce these unjust and unsound provisions, as well as those who seek to impose them.

We demand that our rights be respected and call for the total revocation and non-implementation of the abovementioned provisions.

Finally, we call for all citizens to legally resist any attempt to impose the said unjust provisions, and we encourage judicial action against the LTO and any others who attempt to impose them.

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Comments»

1. underdogjr - September 26, 2008

LTO is such an idiot. All they ever thinking is how to corrupt, corrupt and corrupt. They’ve never been a help to motorcyclist, they’re just plain pain in the ass. I do think Cebu would be a better place to live in without them.


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