MANILA - The Dagupan City Council and the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in Region 1 are at odds over the city's new ordinance requiring motorcycle riders to remove their helmets.
Under the "Ordinance Instituting Certain Security Measures for the Protection of the Lives and Property of Dagupeños," motorcycle riders who are driving at a speed of 15 kilometers per hour or less within the central business district are required to remove their helmets.
Motorcycle riders also have to remove their helmets when approaching checkpoints.
The ordinance, which was authored by Councilor Jose Netu Tamayo, was signed by acting Mayor Maybelyn Fernandez last July. It was implemented on August 12.
According to Tamayo, the new ordinance will help protect residents from criminals who use helmets to conceal their identities whenever they attack victims.
Those who will be caught violating the ordinance will face a fine of P200 for first offense, P300 for second offense, and P500 plus imprisonment for third offense.
While the city council claimed that the new ordinance will protect residents from motorcycle-riding criminals, the LTO said it is a violation of Republic Act 10054 or the National Helmet Law.
The LTO noted that the law mandates all motorcycle riders to wear standard protective helmets while driving.
The Dagupan City Council and the LTO were supposed to hold a dialogue over the new ordinance. The talks, however, did not push through.
For the meantime, the LTO maintained that it will not honor the city ordinance, and will still apprehend motorcycle riders who will be caught not wearing their helmets. -- Report from Melanie Heng, ABS-CBN News Dagupan