House bill sets larger license plates to curb motorcycle crimes

Aika Rey
House bill sets larger license plates to curb motorcycle crimes
The bill will require motorcycle riders to have license plates that are readable from at least 12 meters away

MANILA, Philippines – If passed into law, motorcycles will have larger license plates in an attempt to curb crimes.

House committees on transportation and public order and safety on Wednesday, March 14, approved the unnumbered substitute bill, which seeks to curb crimes committed on motorcycles by requiring them to have larger license plates.

The unnumbered bill will grant the Land Transportation Office (LTO) the power to decide the size of the plates, but the minimum requirement for it to be “readable” is that the font size should be read from at least 12 meters away.  

A motorcycle rider without a readable plate number will be fined P5,000 for the first offense, P10,000 for the second offense, and P15,000 and revocation of driver’s license for the 3rd offense. The bill also introduced a provision that will review and adjust penalty fees every 5 years.

A motorcycle rider group earlier voiced out their concern over bigger license plates, saying that it may compromise pedestrian safety.

In January, Jobert Bolaños of Motorcycle Riders Organization said the size of the plates must follow a technical study involving aerodynamics.

“Plates that are too big [will] be affected by the wind. The mounting points will not hold these plates in place. We don’t want to see a plate flying [and] hitting a pedestrian, it can cause injury,” said Bolaños.

Senator Richard Gordon earlier said that data from the Philippine National Police showed that almost 40,000 cases of riding-in-tandem crimes were committed from 2010 to 2017, about 11,000 of which were shooting incidents.

The Senate version of the bill, Senate Bill No 1397 or the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act, has already passed on its third and final reading in July 2017.

Backlog on plates?

In a text message to Rappler, LTO Law Enforcement Director Francis Ray Almora said that the proposed bill “provides a transition period” for motorcycles to adopt to the measure if passed into law, and for the LTO to address the backlog on license vehicle plates.

“The LTO will be given ample time to make the adjustments. It will be applicable after the LTO had prepared the IRR (Implementing Rules and Regulations),” Almora said.

In December 2017, the backlog on vehicle license plates hit 8 million since 2014, according to LTO.

The Supreme Court in January lifted the temporary restraining order which prevented the release of 700,000 license plates turned over by the Bureau of Customs.

LTO traced the delay back in 2013, when when plates for 2014 to 2018 were questioned before the courts and the COA, which held their release. (READ: Car owners to LTO: Watch dealers, fix license plate release–

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Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at