There has been some confusion among vehicle owners about the Philippine government’s drive against LED lights. Some have said that it calls for an all-out ban, while some have said it only covers certain type of vehicles and/or lights. Trying to settle this issue, we happen to find this lengthy discussion on Atty. Robby Consunji’s Facebook page.
The supposed “ban” on LED lights stems from two sources.
First is the DOTC-LTO-LTFRB Joint Administrative Order 2014-01:
Under Section II, Letter d, it reads:
“Motor Vehicle Operating Without or With Defective/Improper/Unauthorized Accessories, Devices, Equipment and Parts
This includes bells/horns/sirens/whistles, blinkers, brakes, early warning device (EWD), grill/s, jalousies, brake (foot and hand brakes), brake lights/headlights/interior lights/signal lights/tail lights, mirrors, mufflers, metallic tires/spare tire, speedometer, windshield, wipers or any other accessory, device, equipment or part that is manifestly prejudicial to road safety.”The second is Presidential Decree No. 96:
“…it shall be unlawful for the owner or possessor of any motor vehicle to use or attach to his vehicle any siren, bell, horn, whistle, or other similar gadgets that produce exceptionally loud or startling sound, including domelights, blinkers and other similar signalling [sic] or flashing devices.”Does it mean things like LED fog lights or auxiliary light are illegal? Not so fast.
On DOTC-LTO-LTFRB Joint Administrative Order 2014-01, the LTO issued a Memorandum dated March 15, 2016 with a subject: Rules and Regulations Concerning Motorcycle Lights.
It reads that the https://web.facebook.com/robby.consunji under DOTC-LTO-LTFRB Joint Administrative Order 2014-01 and other related laws. And take note, this only covers motorcycles; this memorandum does not cover cars, pick-ups, trucks, SUVs, and the like.
Headlights – shall be white or yellowish in color only; shall be capable of being directed downward; shall have no blinker mode.
Taillights/Tail Lamp – must be red in color only; shall have no blinker mode.
Direction Indicator Lamp/Signal Lights – must be yellow, amber, or orange only.
Stop Lamp/Brake Lamp – must be at the rear of the motorcycle; only 1 stop lamp is allowed; shall be wired that it may turned on only when the brake system of the motorcycle is applied; the stop lamp in combination with a tail lamp shall be wired that its luminous intensity may increase 5 times or stronger than that of the tail lamp only when the brake system is operated
Additional lights may be added provided that they confirm with the following requirements below:
Parking Lamp – front parking lamp shall be white, yellow, or amber in color; rear parking lamp shall be red in color; shall be wired that it may be turned on while the engine is not in operation; shall be wired that all of them will be lit simultaneously; shall not be turned on while the motorcycle is moving.
Fog Lamp – only 1 fog lamp is allowed; must be white or selective-yellow light; shall be installed below the headlight in such a way that no point illuminated by the fog lamps shall come in contact with any point illuminated by the headlamp; shall have their own switches, independent from the headlamps; shall only be lit during instances of thick fog, heavy rain, or similar conditions.
Number Plate Lights – the motorcycle shall be provided with two (2) white number plate lights at the rear only to illuminate such; that the number plate light shall be wired that it may not be put off from the driver’s seat or that it will be turned on whenever the headlamps or parking lamps are turned on; the light shall render the number plate clearly visible at night.
Auxiliary Headlights – shall be wired independently and shall have separate switches; shall be directed downward but in no case towards the left side of the vehicle; must be white or selective-yellow in color; shall be mounted in a way that it will not be disturbed by vibrations or shocks; must not be operated on well-lit streets within the limits of the cities, municipalities, and thickly populated barrios or districts or whenever such vehicle meets another vehicle on any public highway; a maximum of two (2) auxiliary or supplementary lights/lamps are allowed; a maximum of six (6) bulbs per auxiliary or supplementary light/lamp is allowed and shall not be combined as one or installed or placed side by side as a bar; deviation of optic axis shall be at least twenty (20) cm downward at ten (10) meters forward; shall not be installed higher than the handle bars of a motorcycle or scooter; auxiliary or supplementary lights/lamps cannot be used as replacement to the headlamp.
Use of LED or HID lights/lamps is allowed as long as it adheres to the parameters abovementioned.That’s the easy part. But what about Presidential Degree No. 96? The one being used by the Philippine National Police Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) to flag down motorists (they don’t seem to recognize the LTO memo).
The provisions that ban the installation of additional lights under Presidential Degree No. 96 is pretty much quashed by Department of Public Works, Transportation and Communications (DPWTC) Administrative Order No. 1, Series of 1973.
Although we cannot find a copy of this AO online, Atty. Consunji says that while this AO reiterates Presidential Decree No. 96. This AO also identifies the authorized attachments and that emergency vehicles are allowed to use blinkers and sirens. This AO also reiterates that a motor vehicle is permitted to have “additional lamps and light.”
On a personal note, notice how Presidential Decree No. 96 merely mentions “domelights, blinkers and other similar signalling or flashing devices?” No where does it mention auxiliary lights or fog lights that do not blink or flash. In short, it seems that the PNP-HPG is perhaps far too broad in their interpretation of the law.
Atty. Consunji says that the mere presence of additional lamps or lights shouldn’t lead to apprehension, ticket, fine, or confiscation.
“The prohibition cannot be ‘LED lights’,” says Atty. Consunji. “It must be wattage or luminosity, or installation height, or alignment of the beam.”
Atty. Consunji says that we already have existing guidelines under LTO Administrative Order No. 2009-018 or Revised Administrative Order on the New Motor Vehicle Inspection System and Promulgating the Rule and Regulations in the Implementation Thereof. This AO actually outlines the standards for auxiliary headlamps, fog lights, even headlight intensity and alignment.
In short, under the Philippine Land Transportation and Traffic Code, a motor vehicle be it two- or four-wheeled is permitted to have “additional lamps and light” for as long as they follow the prescribed standards.
Does this make the issue clearer now?