Riding in Tandem Unresolved Cases in The Philippines - Solutions

In response to the problems of the “riding-in-tandem” crimes in the country, Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto offered a solution: ban motorcycle back-riders. Sotto has filed a bill to limit motorcycle use only to drivers and to impose fines and penalties of six months to six years of imprisonment to those who break it.

Sotto said that “riding-in-tandem” criminals taunt law enforces because they can easily get away from the crime scene in motorcycles which allow them to wind through traffic without much trouble. With the bill, which is similar to the implementation in Mandaluyong City, it will allow law enforces to have authority to flag down the driver and question them.

Sotto’s urgency in the bill’s adoption is due to the “alarming rise” to more than 3,000 crimes commited by motorcycle riders last year.

Sotto is pushing for the bill’s urgent adoption, citing police data which he said showed an “alarming rise” to more than 3,000 crimes related to riding-in-tandem suspects last year. It turned out the coordination with the National Capital Region Police Office to give each policeman in all checkpoints photos of criminals—either fugitives or with a history of pulling off crimes on motorcycles isn’t enough.

However, it brought criticisms online with one user tweeting, “How bout we ban sotto instead.” Another called the measure as “a band aid solution from Sotto” and yet another said it was “no-brainer”.

It seemed that the senator expected these type of reactions, commenting that the bill “may be frowned upon… but we have to think of the higher good of protecting the life and limb of our citizens.”

This August 30, Mandaluyong City will start clamping down on motorcycles who are riding-in-tandem. The City Ordinance No. 550 prohibits backriders except if the passenger is an adult female, an adult male related to the driver within the first degree of consanguinity, and children aged 7 to 10.

Those who would violate the ordinance will be fined 1,000 php and can be imprisoned up to three months, according to Mayor Benhur Abalos. This move, he says, is an effort to curb the suddent spike in the number of crimes in the city attributed to motorcycle riders in tandem, which has increased by more than a 100%.

"From 249, the figure is now 561, spiking by about 125 percent. And this is on a yearly basis," Mayor Abalos said, adding that the data shows that all the suspects were men.

It will be pilot-tested for 6 months to determine whether the ordinance is effective or not.

In comparison, Sotto’s Senate Bill 2344 has stiffer penalties ranging from 10,000 php fine and imprisonment of 6 years maximum.

This is similar to the ordinance implemented in a town in Colombia resulting in a decrease of drug-related crimes cause by riding-in-tandem suspects.

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Gabrielle Faith Studies BS Architecture at UP Diliman College of Architecture