THE Philippine Road Safety Coalition (PRSC) is encouraging the parents to purchase quality car seats as part of road safety for children, considered as vulnerable in time of accidents.
This means that car seats are in in accordance to the standard set by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
On February 27, a nationwide public information campaign on the Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act of 2019 was conducted at Seda Abreeza Hotel, Davao City.
The forum was participated by several local government agencies and private companies that aimed to inform the public with regards to Republic Act No. 11229 and promotion of road safety measures.
The event, anchored on the slogan, “Buckle Up, Kids! Keeping Kids Safe on the Road,” is part of a nationwide public forum which aims to help the concerned offices and stakeholders in information dissemination and in raising public awareness in hopes to encourage the public to prioritize and be committed in advocating road safety for children.
Lawyer Antonio Salvador, Ideals Inc. trustee, said, "We want to make it an advocacy with a bigger scope in terms of road safety."
Agencies present during the forum were Department of Transportation, Land Transportation Office, Philippine National Police- Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG), Department of Trade and Industry, World Health Organization, UNICEF, Safe Kids Philippines, SM Baby Company Davao, Global Roads Safety Partnerships (GSRP) Coalition including the Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services (Ideals), Pecojon, ImagineLaw, Vera Files, and Philippine Red Cross.
RA 1129 also known as Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act of 2019 highlights the mandatory use of child car seats that must be appropriate to the child's age, height, and weight. It also emphasizes that children below 12 years old with height measuring up to 4'11" are not allowed to sit in the vehicle's front seat and that a child must never be left unaccompanied by an adult in a motor vehicle notwithstanding the child being secured in a CRS.
The law took effect in February 2020 and the public is given a transitory/grace period of one year. During this period assigned offices shall educate and inform the public on the importance of the law.
After the grace period, the authorities shall start apprehending those who could not comply with the law.
By 2021, all private vehicle owners must already be equipped with the necessary precautions.
On the other hand, Lawye Evita Ricafort, Policy Adviser, ImagineLaw, said with regards to the existing law on Child Safety areas needed to be focused on include public information, safety standards set by DTI, and to make sure that enforcers will be trained well.
She also recognized the challenges in addressing traditional attitude among the public towards new road safety measures.
"Voluntary compliance of the law is encouraged," Ricafort said in an interview.
She, moreover, urged the public to be more accepting and supportive in understanding the objective of the law and to not focus on the monetary matters but rather to the safety of the child.
"I keep reminding people that the objective of the law is to keep our children safety in the roads," she added.
Part of the program was the Visual Demonstration on proper usage and installation of car seat, presented by Baby Company, a privately owned business which also supports the advocacy on Child Safety. A car seat usually ranges from P5,000 to P49,000 depending on its brand, features, and durability. (Shane Therese Caangay/Sittie Zamora/May Angela Ung/Karen Bardinas, UM Interns)