The Helmet Law
Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
A not-so-surprising thing greeted Dumagueteños on the first working day of this month as we started a new year. This was the mandatory wearing of helmets as stipulated in Republic Act 10054 authored by Senator Ramon Revilla. Although passed in August last year, full implementation of the law was ordered all over the country at the start of this year.
While local residents were made aware of this strict implementation, it was still met with disbelief by some, and quite cynically by others, who adamantly stood their ground, but risked the stiff penalty of P1,500 for non-wearing of the helmet, and if the helmet does not contain the required Philippine Standard (PS) mark or Impost Commodity Clearance (ICC) sticker, a doubled fine of P3,000.
Dumaguete is widely known as the motorcycle capital of the Philippines. Primarily, it is the main means of transportation of ordinary folk in this city. Although motorcab drivers are not required to wear helmets, habal-habal drivers are now also required to wear them. This is where the bone of contention lies, that has sparked discussions and arguments, especially this week, as the Land Transportation Office began to follow its mandate fully.
However, while the people realize the importance of wearing helmets as protection during accidents, some sectors, including members of the city council, are calling for a review of the law, even to amend it, when Congress opens in July, to accommodate certain exceptions. For one, Dumaguete’s streets are narrow, with many side streets, necessarily requiring motorists to slow down. Moreover, many parents find it more convenient and practical to bring their children to school on motorcycles, especially if they live within the city.
While the intention of the law is to protect the citizens from possible injury during accidents, the impracticality of wearing helmets in a small, less congested city like Dumaguete, is felt more strongly here compared to other highly urbanized cities.
To every law, there is an exception. R.A. 10054 is a good one, if implemented judiciously and if it takes into consideration the intricacies and needs of a particular place, like Dumaguete. We therefore call on our legislators in Congress to articulate the sentiments of the people and to bring them to the proper forum so their voices can be heard.*