Friday, March 18, 2016

Vehicle Registration: It's More Fun in the Philippines

I have always been into following the rules of the state regarding motoring, so as to avoid hassle when there are checkpoints. But, in recent events, an "Administrative Order" has been the ire of the riding community.
Also, I find it amusing that these people who try to enforce rules (mostly) on motorcycle users are those who probably have never ridden a moped their entire lives, or did so but not in the streets and certainly NOT as a means of their daily commute, or those being driven by chauffeurs to and from work on their fancy vehicles.

Let's take this example, a policy that the Land Transportation Office (LTO) is working on, coming from the head of the agency himself.

The LTO is once again pushing the helmet sticker policy to curb the rampant theft of motorcycles and other criminal acts done by people using motorcycles. Also, they say that this is a means to be able to identify those individuals by tagging the helmets with the plate number of the vehicle they own. This is actually an old issue which was unresolved. The agency is akin to Necromancers, exhuming corpses of long-buried issues.

What adds to the ire of motorists is that the agency keeps on adding new policies, while failing to dispense one of their most basic functions: to provide plate numbers and stickers to owners who have registered their vehicles.

Here are my thoughts on this:

1. I will painstakingly save money to buy real quality helmets like AGV, Caberg or SHOEI, and you'd just have it plastered with your sticker? Nah, I don't think so. How about we plaster an unwanted sticker to their shiny, new-looking cars? Would they want that?

2. We all know that this is another expense on the end of the motorcycle users. Sad thing is, the LTO Chief also knows it, yet is still pushing for it. I have more than one helmet. Actually, I have three helmets for myself, and two for my pillion. It means that to be able to use them all on the road, I have to pay to get each and every one of my helmet plastered with their sticker. The top brass of the agency need to remember that not everyone has deep pockets, and majority of the people who buy and drive motorcycles do so as a necessity, rather than a luxury.

3. We already paid taxes (VAT) upon purchase of the helmets, and the agency will impose yet another fee for them. The payment of which, also probably includes tax. Really now?

4. In relation to items 2 and 3, what of the people who own more than one motorcycle? I have a friend who owns five bikes, and he has a ton of helmets. So the agency means to say, he has to have his helmets plastered with the five plate numbers of his bikes? Where the hell would you put all those stickers? Multiply that with the number of helmets he has. Ka-ching! I know may mga pilosopo dyan na sasagot, eh di isang helmet isang plate lang. The point being driven here is, why be limited to the usage of your the helmet? A helmet that you personally own, and should be used whenever you please? Kung isang plate sticker lang per helmet, eh di para kana ring nag-coding ng helmet mo. Like the plaka-vest issue, they will probably enforce that the helmet plate sticker should be the same as the plate number of the motorcycle you are currently using upon apprehension. Non-compliance of which, you will most likely be fined. Again, ka-ching!

5. In the first place, can they even deliver helmet stickers on time, when the riding/motoring public is now clamoring for the non-existing plates and stickers which have already been paid to them? How can you even place a helmet sticker if a motorcycle is already registered but the plate is not available? What sticker would the agency have them placed then? A "NO PLATE AVAILABLE" sticker on their helmet? That's not even funny.

6.  In relation to "identification", have the agency ever thought that it might be used by nefarious individuals to their advantage? It will be a cause for them to steal helmets with plate stickers. What if they use these stolen helmets when committing a crime? What of the real owner of the helmet? Sure, upon investigation, the owner may be proven innocent, but what of the inconveniences to the owner? Will they be able to compensate for it? Nanakawan ka na nga ng helmet, naabala ka pa.

7. Please, for Pete's sake, resolve other issues first, like the LED bar fiasco, before putting out another policy. How about the screws and nuts they enforce (with a fine of PHP5,000.00 for non-compliance) for the new plates? Apparently it's not of good quality, and definitely not compatible with all vehicles. Has it been resolved?  And, for crying out loud, WHERE ARE OUR FREAKIN' PLATES AND STICKERS?

Is the Department of Tourism still campaigning for the "It's More Fun in the Philippines" ad? May I add this to their list?

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