By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Senator Richard J. Gordon recently lashed out at the Land Transportation Office (LTO) for its delay in creating Joint Operations Center with the Philippine National Police (PNP) as mandated under the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Law.
Gordon, the author of Republic Act (RA) 11235, or the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act, said the creation of the Joint LTO-PNP Operations and Control Center could have prevented the escalation of crimes involving motorcycle-bound suspects, colloquially known as “riding in tandem.”
“Two years after the enactment of RA 11235, there is still no Operations and Control Center,” he said in a privilege speech.
“Despite [LTO Chief Edgar] Galvante’s promise that the Command Center is going to be up and running, during the July 8, 2021 hearing, there were six phones calling the number LTO gave out, the repetitive reply was ‘The number you dialed cannot be completed. Please check the number and dial again,’” he added.
Gordon explained that RA 11235 mandates the LTO to set up a 24/7 operational command center which will serve as an action center for the reporting of stolen vehicles, and report facility for motorcycle-related crimes.
The command center will be obliged to send out text blasts warning people on the occurrence of killings and other heinous crimes. It should also be equipped with a reliable database utilizing the latest technology to sufficiently address emergencies.
When a motorcycle is lost, stolen, or used in commission of a crime, the owner must report it to trigger a text blast.
Gordon, a lawyer by profession, said that crime could be reported in flagrante delicto or caught in the act with the immediate reporting to the Command Center.
“With the proper implementation of RA 11235, riding-in-tandem perpetrators will be easily apprehended since the number plates will be easily read and monitored,” he pointed out.
“Law enforcers will be able to trace the owner of the motorcycle used in the crime because the number plates are color-coded and a complete database kept in the operations center that will be jointly operated by the PNP and the LTO. When a motorcycle is lost, stolen or used in a crime, the owner must report it,” he added.
Due to multiple violations by Galvante and LTO Executive Director Romeo Vera Cruz, the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chaired by Gordon moved to slap anti-graft and corruption charges against the two for nonfeasance of the law.
Gordon also insisted that the approach should be forward-looking, digital technology-integrated, and citizen-centric approach, such as the use of a mobile application or an “app”, so that witnesses to motorcycle crimes can immediately report to the LTO Operations Center with the simple touch of a button. Gordon said that it was one obvious, modern approach to help people help themselves.
Charges were also slapped for installing a proprietary and closed system that unduly favored one company in the agency’s bidding process. (ai/mtvn)