Poe bill: Remembrance is ‘precursor’ of justice for road crash victims
MANILA, Philippines —The chair of the Senate public services committee on Tuesday, Nov. 5, took the floor to formally endorse for approval a bill declaring a day of remembrance for road crash victims and their loved ones.
Sen. Grace Poe said Senate Bill No. 1122, which she reported out on the floor, would declare every third Sunday of November as “National Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims, Survivors and their Families.”
“We must not forget that remembrance is a precursor of justice,” Poe said in her sponsorship speech.
“Remembering road crash victims, survivors and their families will not only prevent them from becoming just another statistic,” she said.
“It will also preserve the call to justice for future generations. It will insulate their tragedy from political amnesia,” she added.
In her speech, Poe also called it urgent for action to be taken “to minimize the ramifications of road crash incidents.”
“Victims of road crash didn’t only meet an accident, they continue to be at a disadvantage,” said Poe in Filipino. “Some are buried deep in debt because of hospital expenses and were not even given even a centavo of help by those who hit them,” she said.
Since many road crashes were believed caused by drunken driving, Poe said traffic rule enforcers should get new breathalyzers, gadgets that measure the level of alcohol among drivers.
Results of breathalyzer tests could also be used in court as evidence against those who violate road rules.
In many cases, Poe said accidents are caused by the absence of enforcers on the streets late at night or at dawn.
In the committee report, she said traffic rule enforcers get no hazard pay even if they themselves end up as victims of road accidents.
She cited accounts made by survivors and victims during hearings on the bill.
One of these was the account of a doctor who lost a child because of a drunk driver. Another was the story of a parking attendant who fell victim to hit-and-run. One more story was that of woman whose son died in a motorcycle crash. Yet another was that of a nurse who survived a three-truck smashup but was traumatized by it.
The bill endorsed by Poe makes it mandatory to commemorate victims, survivors and their families through religious services, designation of public spaces as memorials, blood donation campaigns and other means.
Poe had also sponsored another bill creating the National Transportation Safety Board that would investigate land, air and sea accidents in the country. The bill is in the period of interpellation.
Citing records from the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Poe said there were 101,428 road accidents in Metro Manila in 2018 alone.
University of the Philippines National Center for Transport Studies, meanwhile, said that each road accident costs up to P3.47 million, Poe added./TSB
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.