Officials of the provincial Department of Trade and Industry and the Land Transportation Office-Dumaguete District admitted yesterday there is a perceived lack of motorcycle helmets’ supply as of the latest inventory.
Motorcycle drivers and passengers, however, are urged not to wait until the last hour to purchase the prescribed standard headgear with the full implementation of the Mandatory Helmet law or Republic Act 10054 starting August 1.
DTI provincial director Javier Fortunato Jr. said motorcycle drivers and back-riders should start acquiring their crash helmets to avoid the rush.
LTO-Dumaguete chief Roland Ramos said that in the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 10054, the full implementation should be on July 28 but since the date falls on a Saturday, this will be moved to August 1.
The DTI met with dealers and suppliers of helmets in the city early this week, and as of the last count, only about 1,300 headgears passed the prescribed standard, Angeline Gonzalez of DTI said.
She said the agency came up with a list of stores and outlets that have or can offer motorcycle helmets that have the PS (Product Standards) or ICC (Import Commodity Clearance) marks as required by law.
Ramos warned that the lack of supply of prescribed standard helmets will not be accepted as an excuse from a motorcycle driver or back-rider arrested or fined during roadside inspection.
He said that of an estimated 20,000 motorcycle units plying the streets of Dumaguete, about 17,000 have been duly registered with the LTO.
Even if only 20 percent of the total motorcycle owners do not own helmets, at least 4,000 of the protective headgears are still required to meet the standards, Ramos said.
The DTI and LTO officials also said they were assured that helmet suppliers will be able to meet the requirements in the coming days.
In fact, retailers can produce more helmets in just a week. But sellers appeared to be cautious in pumping up their inventory for fear of a losing proposition, Fortunato said.
Ramos said only a court order can stop the LTO from enforcing the law.
Dumaguete City officials earlier petitioned for a temporary restraining order against the law’s implementation, saying it is impractical. The Regional Trial Court Branch 44 in Negros Oriental was hearing the case.
Meanwhile, the DTI is calling on the motorcycle-riding public to visit the office and have their helmets inspected, particularly those that were bought before the crafting of the law.
Gonzalez said forms are available for the granting of an ICC, and visor sticker for those helmets that will pass the prescribed standard.*JFP
DAILY STAR: Negros Oriental