Every third week of June is celebrated as the National Safe Kids Week, as mandated by Presidential Proclamation 1307 by then president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. In celebration of National Safe Kids Week, the Safe Kids Worldwide Philippines — a non-government organization that promotes road safety among children — together with various government agencies, local government units, private sector and elementary students from Paranaque, Pasay, Quezon City joined hands at the SM Mall of Asia Music Hall yesterday to launch the Coalition of the Child Road Traffic Injury Prevention Program. This national program was conceived to specifically address the plight of children on the road.
This week’s celebration aims to increase awareness on the severity of road-related injuries and make the roads safer for children while walking and/or traveling to and from school with the theme: SAFE JOURNEY-SAFE KIDS. According to the Department of Health statistics, on average, 2 kids die each day in Metro Manila alone due to road-related accidents and it is currently the leading cause of death among children, more than dengue or any other disease.
Children's demands: one of which is for drivers to undergo road safety training.
“Road safety is a shared responsibility,” said DOH Usec. and Chief of Staff, Dr. Rolando Domingo. “In as much as the government has the responsibility to design and implement laws that protect lives and prevent injuries, individuals and road users — kids and their parents — we have a responsibility to adhere to the laws as a condition of use.” Domingo emphasized the importance of obeying the law for everyone's safety. He further added in Filipino that as road users, we cannot just put all the responsibility on drivers or motorcycle riders. We all have to use the road properly e.g.: using of pedestrian crosswalks, sidewalks and overpass for our own safety, especially the children.
The Department of Transportation, through Asec. Ret.BGen. Manuel Gonzales reiterated Usec. Domingo's speech and added that, “by simply following road and traffic rules, [we] can save lives.” The DOTr also, According to Asec. Gonzales, the DOTr and the Land Transportation Office are doing their part with the establishment of a Driver's Academy. Currently, it is training public utility vehicle drivers. These PUV drivers must pass the training and assessment of the LTO Driver's Academy or they will not be issued a driver's license.
As motorcycle riders, we too have a responsibility towards children's safety. With the passage of Republic Act 10666 in 2015, it is unlawful for any person to drive a two (2)-wheeled motorcycle with a child on board on public roads where there is heavy volume of vehicles, there is a high density of fast-moving vehicles or where a speed limit of more than 60/kph is imposed, unless:
(a) The child passenger can comfortably reach his/her feet on the standard foot peg of the motorcycle;
(b) The child’s arms can reach around and grasp the waist of the motorcycle rider; and
(c) The child is wearing a standard protective helmet referred to under Republic Act No. 10054, otherwise known the "Motorcycle Helmet Act of 2009."
The event is supported by UNICEF, SM Cares, SM MOA, The Department of Health, Department of Education, Department of Transportation, Motorcycle Development Program Participants Association, Motorcycle Philippines Federation, FedEx, World Health Organization, WHO-BIGRS, Automobile Association of the Philippines, CWC, Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group, PARS, Red Cross, 3M, Cities of Pasay, Paranaque, Quezon, Angeles and Valenzuela.