Surigao mayor mulls banning use of motorbike helmets

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/13 November) — City Mayor Ernesto T. Matugas on Wednesday said he will ask the city council to ban the use of helmets by motorcycle riders as a deterrent against robbery and other crimes.

The mayor said he was alarmed by robberies victimizing various businesses in broad daylight, the latest of which was the robbery last Monday at United Coconut Planters Bank where the robbers wore motorcycle helmets.

The robbers carried out the robbery in less than a minute and took at least 4.4 million in cash.

In previous robbery cases in the city caught on closed circuit television, the robbers also used motorcycle helmets to hide their faces.

But City Councilor Jose V. Begil Jr., chair of the committee on transportation, said he doesn’t favor Matugas’ proposal.

He said it will violate Republic Act 10054, the law requiring motorcycle riders to wear standard protective helmets, and finds it a shallow solution to address crimes.

Begil said banning helmets is not a decisive solution to robberies and other crimes in the city.

He proposed instead to expand police presence in the barangays and make use of “multiplier forces“.

But Begil said he might consider the proposal if the city would ban the use of full-face cover type of helmets.

“The short or half-helmets are okay but again this is not a best solution to robberies and other crimes,” he said.

Like in Cebu City, motorcycle riders are not allowed to use full-face helmets. Only short or half helmets are allowed.

Motorcycles riders in town were divided on this call.

“I’m in favor of the ban on the use of motorcycle helmets in the city because of criminals using this thing,” Rod Salcedo, who has been driving for 40 years, said.

“I don’t agree to that because it’s not safe driving without helmet. I dare the mayor to drive himself a motorbike without wearing a helmet and I don’t think he would do it daily. I haven’t seen him driving a motorbike, so I can’t imagine,” said Dave Cordova.

Some cities like Dagupan and Cotabato have banned the use of motorbike helmets supposedly to lessen crimes. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)