The Anti-Muffler Ordinance in Manila has been very controversial

The “Anti Muffler Ordinance” in the City of Manila has been a very controversial topic. While the intent may be good, car enthusiasts and motorcycle enthusiasts are strongly against Ordinance No. 8154. One of the reasons is the lack of details regarding its proposed implementation, along with the issue of the name itself.

Given the backlash, Councilor Joel “JTV” Villanueva has decided to clear up a few things regarding Ordinance 8154. In an interview with DZBB, he explained that in the proposal, barangay officials cannot arrest violators. Instead, only the Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau (MTPB) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) can issue ordinance violator receipts. Villanueva says that this will help prevent corruption.

But how will they check if the vehicle in question is “noisy”. The councilor says that enforcers can't just play it by ear. Instead, they will have to use a decibel meter to check if the exhaust is too loud. According to Villanueva, they will follow the limit set by the Land Transportation Office (LTO) of 99 decibels.

But here's where things get interesting: the councilor says there are exemptions to Ordinance 8154. He says that vehicles used for car shows and racing/motorsport competitions are exempt. Meanwhile, motorbikes with 400cc up engine displacements are exempt from the ordinance as well. According to Villanueva, these are meant for vehicles for racing hence the naturally loud exhaust sounds.

It's good to hear that the councilor has cleared up a few of the issues but it does raise new ones. For example, enforcers should know and must train how to use a decibel meter properly (if they actually have one). Otherwise, there might be a repeat of the Land Cruiser with decibel testing experienced by MVIC before. And if vehicles built for racing and car shows are exempt, what defines a “race car” and a “vehicle for car show”.

Hopefully, details and guidelines are cleared up before the ordinance is signed by Mayor Isko. Otherwise, the Anti-Muffler Ordinance could be open to abuse (e.g. arbitrary apprehensions) and the like.