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LAOAG CITY, Philippines – Ilocos Norte police on Saturday, December 16, began requiring riders of motorcycles, bicycles, tricycles, e-bikes, and farm machinery traversing national highways in the province to wear high-visibility or reflective vests as a safety measure to reduce road mishaps.
In an ordinance enacted by the Ilocos Norte provincial board in July, motorists include “all drivers/riders of motorcycles, bicycles, e-bikes, tricycles, make-shift side cars, and farm machineries including their back-riders.”
They are required to wear a high-visibility vest or a reflective vest that provides “added visibility” from 6 pm to 6 am of the following day.
Ilocos Norte police said earlier this week that violators will not penalized on December 16. “Instead of issuing a [violation] ticket, we will give a vest to the riders,” he said.
The apprehension of violators and imposition of penalties will officially begin on January 1, 2024, as the period in between will be dedicated to extending the information drive and the free distribution of vests, said Marzan.
There is no standard vest to be required for motorists. “Anything that can be used as a reflector – strap for workers, security vest, riders’ vest, reflected riders’ jacket – is okay,” Ilocos Norte police spokesperson Major Antonio Marzan said at a press briefing.
The new rule does not apply to barangay and provincial roads.
Violators of the new rule face the following penalties
- 1st offense: Penalty of P500 or community service in the concerned barangay for three days
- 2nd offense: Penalty of P1,000 or community service in the concerned barangay for five days
- 3rd offense and succeeding offenses: Penalty of P1,500 or community service in the concerned barangay for seven days
Why is it being imposed?
The provincial board said that the ordinance was enacted to “reduce accidents” which result in physical injuries, and even death.
Latest data from the Land Transportation Office showed that the average number of daily road crashes in the Ilocos Region is at 37, 50% involving motorcycles.
INPPO said that there has been an “alarming rise” in road incidents, with 222 occurring from January 1 to December 6, 2023. These accidents involved “human error” such as driving under the influence of liquor, over-speeding and overtaking, miscalculation, and reckless driving.
While the new rule is being pushed to ensure motorists’ safety, residents also pointed out the need for the government to install “good lighting for national highways in the province” to reduce accidents, especially at night.
Accountant and local resident Jonathan Fernandez suggested in a social media post that law enforcers should intensify their efforts as well as the “mandatory inspection of wheeled vehicles to ensure that vehicle lights fully function and [are] not dim.”
He also said that these inspections would ensure that vehicle registrations are up to date and drivers’ licenses are valid and not expired.
Meanwhile, the Sangguniang Bayan of Solsona town passed Resolution No. 2023-833 to suspend the implementation of the provincial ordinance as it is in conflicts with laws and rules, including the Local Government Code (LGC), the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, and issuances from the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
The Sannguniang Panlungsod in Laoag City, Resolution no. 2023-093, urged the provincial board “to reconsider the passage of the provincial ordinance,” citing conflict with laws, most specially the Local Government Code.
“It would be more appropriate if the Sangguniang Panlungsod or Bayan is given the leeway to enact its own ordinances to regulate its traffic rules and regulations,” the resolution said, adding that that the power to “regulate traffic on all streets” resides with the Sangguniang Panlungsod or Bayan, and not Sangguniang Panlalawigan, as provided by the LGC.
“In order to promote cycling as a mode of transportation, we should also avoid passing ordinances that would add burden or would discourage cyclists from using their bicycles as a mode of transportation,” the resolution added.
High-visibility vests are being sold by retailers in Laoag beginning at P100.
Ilocos Norte police also allayed fears that the new rule would be a source of corruption among law enforcers.
He said that the mandatory wearing of a visibility vest is only meant to ensure the safety of the public from accidents. “We are not here to create a problem. We are here to give solutions to our problems,” emphasized Marzan. – Rappler.com