Use of child car seats in PUVs not mandatory, says Ejercito | Inquirer News
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Use of child car seats in PUVs not mandatory, says Ejercito

/ 05:50 PM February 09, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The use of child restraint systems is not mandatory in public utility vehicles (PUVs) under the Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act, the law’s principal sponsor made clear Tuesday.

According to former Senator JV Ejercito, using child car seats in PUVs is just an option for commuting parents.

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“I’d just like to clarify as well as the confusion as to whether the law covers PUVs. As currently worded, the law does not require the use of child restraint systems or car seats in public utility vehicles such as taxis and TNVs, buses and jeepneys,” he said during a hearing of the Senate public services committee.

“Kahit ‘di pa sakop ng batas, maaaring gumamit ng child restraint systems sa PUVs katulad ng taxis and TNVs (transport network vehicles). Kung may available, we actually encourage hand me downs. Kung kinalakihan na ng mga kamag-anak o kaibigan, pwede ito ipahiram,” he added.

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(Even if it’s not covered by the law, parents can still use child restraints in PUVs like taxis and TNVs. If it’s available, we actually encourage hand me downs from relatives.)

“Optional ito at hindi mandatory kung kayo ay sasakay ng taxis or mga Grab,” he further said.

(This is optional and not mandatory when you ride taxis or Grab vehicles.)

The law, nevertheless, tasks the Department of Transportation (DOTr), LTO, and other government agencies to submit to Congress their recommendations “on how they will be able to fit the child restraints systems” in PUVs one year after the law’s implementation.

Enacted in February 2019, Republic Act No. 11229 or the Child Safety in Motor Vehicle Act aims to provide additional safety and avoid injury and death to child passengers.

The law’s implementing rules and regulations (IRR) were approved on December 23, 2019. The law was supposed to come into force on February 2.

READ: EXPLAINER: The Child Safety In Motor Vehicles Act

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However, the DOTr has deferred the law’s full enforcement during the coronavirus pandemic as it finalizes protocols for its implementation.

Ejercito, a road safety advocate, stressed that the law has good intentions.

Citing a World Health Organization (WHO) report on safety, the former lawmaker noted that “road traffic injuries are currently the leading cause of death for children and young adults.”

He added that in the Philippines, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that from 2006 to 2015, car accidents were the leading cause of death of children aged 1 up to 12.

“An average of 671 children and infants die every year because of road collisions and road crashes. The WHO report also states that child restraints are highly effective in reducing injury and death to child occupants,” he said.

“The use of child restraints can lead to at least a 60 to 70 percent reduction in deaths,” he noted.

However, Ejercito admitted that the law’s  implementation at this time would be “untimely and illogical.”

“We are in a pandemic right now. When this law was being drafted, being heard, and eventually passed, there was no such thing as a pandemic back then. Iba po ‘yung (it was a different) situation,” he said.

“As such, the government has to adapt to the situation and I being the principal sponsor of this measure, I would support the suspension, to hold in abeyance its implementation while there is a pandemic,” he added.

Moreover, Ejercito underscored the need for proper information dissemination regarding the child car seat law.

“Good laws require proper information dissemination. Palagay ko dito nagkulang ang DOTr at LTO, at siguro Philippine News Agency. Nagkaroon tuloy ng confusion at outrage dahil sa kakulangan ng impormasyon,” he said.

(Good laws require proper information dissemination. I think this is where the DOTr, LTO, and perhaps the Philippine News Agency lacked. As a result, there was confusion and outrage because of the lack of information.)

“Republic Act No. 11229 is a good law and has good intentions to protect and save the lives of our children and develop a strong safety culture in our country,” he maintained.

KGA

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TAGS: child car seat, child restraint system, Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act, JV Ejercito, Nation, News, Republic Act No. 11229
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