Advocates of road safety lauded the approval on 2nd reading of House Bill 6938 or “An Act Providing For The Special Protection of Child Passengers in Motor Vehicles” at the House of Representatives today. They welcome the actions of lawmakers who took important steps to move forward the institutionalization of child restraint system or child car seats in the country.
“We would like to commend the House leadership and thank the legislators for supporting the measure. We are grateful to Congressman Cesar Sarmiento and Congressman Mariano Michael Velarde, Jr for championing the bill and working tirelessly for its immediate approval. Our hats off to them for putting the interest and safety of Filipino children first, not only in mind but in heart,” said Jason Salvador, project manager of road safety project of the Ateneo School of Government (ASoG). “This is a victory for all of us, especially for the children,” he added.
On Tuesday, the House cleared HB 6938 in a plenary session. The bill was filed by Reps. Cesar Sarmiento of Catanduanes and Mariano Velarde Jr of the Buhay Party List. Under the bill, drivers of privately-owned motor vehicles are mandated to use child car seats in transporting children ages 12 years and under.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority shows that from 2006 to 2014, an average of 671 children aged 0-14 died each year from road crashes. In 2014 alone, 253 children aged 5-9 and 195 children aged 10-14 died from road crashes.
While cheering the victory in the Lower House, road safety advocates said they will not rest, as a counterpart measure from the Senate has yet to be passed. Urgent action is needed by the Senate to save the lives of children who will die in road crashes because they are not buckled into car seats.
“Senate Bill 1447 or the ‘Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act’ authored by Senator JV Ejercito is scheduled for hearing at the committee level next week. We are confident the Senate bill will soon be approved. We also applaud Senator Ejercito for his strong support of road safety. We urge his colleagues to join him in moving forward without delay to save the lives of our children on the roads,” Salvador, who is the official spokesperson of the road safety coalition, said.
The road safety coalition is composed of Ateneo School of Government, Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services, New Vois Association of the Philippines, ImagineLaw, Dakila, Peace and Conflict Journalism Network, and Philippine Red Cross. #
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