Helmet law compliance in Region 12 dismal

GENERAL SANTOS CITY(MindaNews/7 December) — About 17,000 motorcycle owners in Region 12 have secured import commodity clearance (ICC) stickers for their helmets since the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) launched the
free inspection and marking in July.

Mary Ann Morales, DTI-12 consumer welfare chief, said such number comprise only about 22 percent of the 78,747 motorcycles within the region’s four provinces and five cities that were registered with the Land Transportation Office (LTO).

Region 12, which is also known as the Soccsksargen Region, covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong Kidapawan and Cotabato.

Of the 19,199 registered motorcycles in this city, Morales said a total of 7,116 motorcycle owners have so far availed of the agency’s free inspection and marking of ICC stickers for helmets.

In South Cotabato, she said 4,232 motorcycle owners out of the area’s 19,709 registered motorcycles have secured ICC stickers for their helmets as of end of November.

Morales acknowledged that the availment rate of the ICC stickers for helmets in the region is considered minimal when compared to the total number of registered motorcycles in the area.

But she said the other motorcyle owners may have opted to purchase helmets that were already marked with ICC stickers or were issued with free standard and ICC-marked helmets when they acquired their motorcycles.

“There are 79 helmet brands that have passed our quality standards and these are available in local commercial establishments,” Morales said.

In an earlier meeting with owners of local business establishments, she said they agreed to assist the agency’s campaign for the standardization of helmets by selling the brands that have passed the government’s quality standards.

Under the Product Certification scheme of the DTI’s Bureau of Product Standards, all manufacturers and importers of motorcycle helmets shall secure a Philippine Standard (PS) license or an ICC certificate prior to sale and distribution of their products.

Only those manufacturers and importers whose products comply with Philippine National Standard requirements are issued with the PS license and ICC certificate and are authorized to use the PS mark and place the ICC sticker on their products.
Morales said they will continue with the free helmet inspections and ICC markings until the December 31 deadline set by the DTI central office.

She said the inspections and marking activities for this month will mainly cater to requests from groups and local companies.

“We currently discourage individual issuances since we’ve already given them enough time since July,” she said.

Morales said the DTI central office has allotted the region with an additional 15,000 ICC stickers for this month’s helmet inspection and ICC marking activities.

Under Republic Act 10054 or the Motorcycle Helmet Law 0f 2009, motorcycle owners or riders were required to wear helmets with ICC marks or face fines.

The law and its implementing rules and regulations were supposed to take effect last August 1 but the Department of Transportation and Communications directed the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to defer its enforcement until January 1 next year to give way to the ongoing helmet inspections and markings conducted by DTI. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)