Saturday, September 20, 2008

Balancing police power and individual liberty

The reason why there are impassioned discussions regarding this controversial LTO regulation AHS-2008-015, is because it pricks the tension between the police power of the state, and respect for individual liberties.
A commentator, in the Negros Chronicle, "noypito" advanced the following argument, which I think, hits the core of the political discussion. He says:

"I don’t think the point here is the advantages of wearing a helmet over not wearing a helmets. It is a no brainer. Wearing a helmet is beneficial in minimizing the ods of riders getting brain injury in the event of a spill.
The question is should it be mandatory? Should the law dictate to us what we should be doing for our own good? Is the Philippines a fascist state? I should hope not. In the bill of rights of the Philippine Constitution, it is stated that we have the right to life liberty and property. they state should protect our freedom of choice. the only time the state should step in is if in our exercise of freedom, we infringe upon the freedom of others.
If I want to engage in the sports of motorcycling, I should have the right to do so. If I want to go sky diving, I should have the right to do so. The state shouldn’t dictate to me that I can’t do those things because they think it is too dangerous and that i might injure myself or die in doing those things. Same principle applies to use of helmets. I personally use a good helmet everytime I ride my bike. I don’t want the state to dictate to me that I have no choice but to wear a helmet.
If I decide not to wear a helmet, I don’t think I will be harming others in the process.
what the LTO should concentrate upon is how to keep the imcompetent drivers off the streets. It is common knowlege that anyone can easily get a driver’s license even if they don’t know how to drive. DUI is also another potential road hazzard. I believe there are exsisting laws on DUI but it is rarely being implemented.

the solution if the state would really like to promote the use of helmets in not through regulation. it should be done through education. Educate the people on the benefits of using a helmet and trust them to make the right choice".

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