Ordinance No. 066, series of 1948 imposes a ban on motor bikes, scooters and moto5cycloes in the city while Ordinance No. 329, series of 1960 limits the implementation on the ban of motorcycles to several city6 roads like Magasysay Avenue, Gen. Luna road and Session road, which was then known as the central business district area. Further, Ordinance No. 418 and Ordinance No. 423, series of 1965 explicitly provided for those that shall be exempted from the motorcycle ban, particularly those involved in the delivery of postal matters, communications among other related matters.
On February 4, 2016, Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan issued Memorandum No. 038, series of 2016 reminding the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) on the existence of the aforesaid ordinances which must be implemented after his office received numerous complaints from both the motoring and commuting public on the reckless driving of motorcycle drivers travelling along the city\s main roads. After the police strictly implemented the provisions of the said ordinances and several motorcycle drivers were arrested for their blat5ant violations, the said order was subjected to misinformation and misinterpretation by people in the social media. Even those who claim to be residents of the city who are now living overseas led the massive disinformation in the social media because they are not actually aware of what is happening in the city. Living a life in the city is totally different from second hand information being received by people overseas on what is happening in the city because they simply look at it through face value, no more, no less.
In The Cordillera Riders Federation, Inc. made representations with the City Council last Monday for the repeal of the ordinances governing the ban on motorcycles on several city roads as earlier specified. The group respected the existence of the ordinance but proposed that there should be a window in the implementation of the motorcycle ban preferably from 7 pm to 7 am and the ban shall be enforced from 7 am to 7 pm. Representatives of the group also admitted that they could not police their own ranks considering that there are still numerous reckless motorcycle drivers which significantly affect the image of the organization from the commuting and motoring public.
Some councilors raised various observations on the blatant violations committed by motorcycle riders while others came to their rescue by citing that it is the cheapest mode of transportation affordable to the public and that it would be easier for motorists to maneuver in heavy traffic. Numerous requests for exemptions were also submitted to the City Council but during previous public consultations by the former council members, many people objected to lifting the motorcycle ban along several roads in the city.
On the other hand, studies showed that single-cylinder engines have poor combusti9on, thus, diesel used by motorcycles are not totally burned resulting to greater pollutants in the city’s air. One of the major programs of the City Government is to significantly reduce the volume of pollutants in the air through the massive implementation of the anti-smokebelching ordinance and the ban on motorcycles in several city roads. However, some people interpret such actuations of local officials as deprivation of their right to travel which is again not absolute because the local government also has the right to regulate those vehicles that are allowed to travel on its streets.
We believe the issuance of the assailed memorandum is part of the job of the local chief executive to implement existing ordinances such as those mentioned above. While many individuals consider it as wrongly timed because it is already political season, we applaud such effort in order to help rid the pollutants in the city’s air and lessen threats to the safety of the motoring and commuting public in congested roads. We are not ruling out that there are no erring drivers of 4-wheel vehicles but we believe there are more vehicular accidents involving motorcycles that are reported in the police blotters daily which would strengthen the arguments for the implementation of the ban on motorcycles along specified city roads The question that should be asked from our councilors why did they wait for the issuance of such memorandum and the uproar from the motorcycle group before agreeing to amend the ordinances?
We do not buy the idea that we tolerate motorcycles plying our city roads because it is the cheapest mode of transportation that people could afford because there are numerous collaterals attached to it, s0ecifically issues on safety, security among others of drivers and even the public in general. We certainly suggest that our city councilors conduct more researches and involve themselves in critical thinking so that their actions will not always be aligned for re-election, especially that the May 2016 general elections os just around the corner.
Let us not be swayed by negative or positive reactions in the social media. Let us not allow social media to influence our decision-making because we often get lost on the real issue because of more negative reactions when such initiatives are noble and actually good for the greater majority of the people within our city. Let us not allow people who are not even aware of what is happening in our city as they simply rely on second hand information to deictat5e upon our daily activities considering that they have their own and they are in their comfort zones while we are battling out with reality.