The law or medical emergency?

Republic Act 10666, or the Children’s Safety on Motorcycles Act of 2015 (IRR here), is a national law that prohibits any motorcycle rider from having a child as a passenger, especially if the child is still unable to reach the passenger footpeg or reach around and grasp the waist of the rider.

Earlier today, elements from the Inter-Agency Council for Traffic (I-ACT), composed of combined personnel from different law enforcement agencies, posted a video about their apprehended motorcycle rider.

According to I-ACT, the rider and his pillion, who claimed to be a couple, were apprehended because there was a child onboard, which is prohibited under RA 10666. I-ACT added that the rider will face a fine that will not be less than PHP 3,000 for violation of RA 10666, with an additional PHP 1,000 for overloading.

Is it right though?

Netizens were in an uproar over I-ACT’s apprehension of the rider couple. In the video, the couple claimed that the reason they are transporting the child onboard their motorcycle is because the child was sick, and they’re on their way to the nearest barangay/city health center. It appears the couple had no other way to bring the child to a private clinic or doctor.

I-ACT apprehends rider couple with child, but are they right? image

That’s where the netizens became furious, saying that I-ACT should’ve been more humane in rare instances like this. I-ACT, in its defense, said that even if the travel was near, still, the law is the law and RA 10666 prohibits such activities due to child safety. They also added that pillion riders should also wear their protective helmet.

While it’s true that the law is the law, I-ACT may have overlooked one of RA 10666’s provisions. According to Section 5 of RA 10666, “Notwithstanding the prohibition provided in the preceding section, this Act shall not apply to cases where the child to be transported requires immediate medical attention.”

In other words, RA 10666 exempts those in violation if the child being transported requires immediate medical attention, if what the apprehended couple claims are true.

While we’re no doctors, some of us may have parenting experience that tells that a child having diarrhea could be a symptom of a much serious illness, hence, immediate medical attention is necessary.

Let’s just hope that I-ACT could look into this, because at the end of the day, it’s not just about issuing traffic citation tickets and upholding the law, it is also about doing what is right.