RESURRECTED: Even top officials are not exempted

Helmet law enforced anew. Helmet law is enforced anew invoking their mandate as enforcers of national laws, both the Provincial Highway Patrol Team and the Land Transportation Office will not compromise in the implementation of the helmet law. (Photo by Roy Bustillo)

Under heavy fine of P1,500 per violation, even the motorbike drivers of the city treasurer (who holds the purse to the LTO office equipment) and that of the city engineer, were not spared by the aggressive implementors of the resurrected helmet law in the city.

These are the combined efforts of new LTO officer Janine Flores-Lawas and new highway patrol officer HPG Chief Sr. Insp. Silvestre Cenia.

The citizens appeal was to re-conduct massive information drive once more, give one chance to violators, take their fotos, and impose the fine in the next violation.

But invoking the 2012 decision of RTC Branch 44 under Judge Neciforo Enot, both the Land Transportation Office and the Highway Patrol Group are apprehending without letup motorcycle drivers who are not wearing the prescribed helmets.

Since the court decision junking the petition of hundreds of Dumaguete City residents to nullify Republic Act 10054 or the Motorcycle Helmet Act of 2009 was promulgated in July 2012 there was no serious attempt by the authorities to enforce it in the city unlike in all other areas of the country.

But the new HPG Chief Sr. Insp. Silvestre Cenia is firm in the re-imposition of the law requiring the use of helmets to safeguard the well-being of the drivers, passengers, motorists and pedestrians.

In most checkpoints, the HPG would confiscate the licenses of the drivers without helmets making them liable to pay a fine of P 1, 500 not counting other violations of traffic laws and rules.

The seized licenses are endorsed to the Land Transportation Office and will only be released to the holders once they pay for the fines.

Both LTO and HPG are national agencies and the local government has little or no control over their priorities and mandate. However, several local officials have appealed to the two national agencies to conduct first Information and Education campaign for at least two week before they begin another round of crackdown to give ample time to prepare and yes, buy their helmets.

Still others are not impressed with the apparent fixation of both LTO and HPG to go all out against drivers without helmets. Instead, they find it more laudable if these agencies would rather devote their time, effort, resources and stamina in running after carnappers, highway robbers, smuggling and recovery of stolen vehicles than pick on the small guys, who are generally law abiding and do not pose a great danger to society.