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SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau

Use of seatbelt for kids hurdles House Com
19 September 2017 10:03:34 AM

The House committee on transportation chaired by Rep. Cesar Sarmiento (Lone District, Catanduanes), voting 11-2, approved Monday a substitute bill which seeks to provide special protection to child passengers in motor vehicles.

The unnumbered bill substituted House Bill Nos. 1319 and 5595.

The proposed “Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act of 2017,” principally authored by Rep. Mariano Michael Velarde (Party-list, BUHAY), states it is the policy of the State to ensure the safety of children while being transported in any form of motor vehicle.

Likewise, the State recognizes the right of children to assistance, including proper care and special protection from all forms of neglect, abuse and other conditions prejudicial to their development, including exposure to safety risks while on board vehicles.

Velarde said the Philippine Seat-belt Law or Republic Act No. 8750 mandates the installation of seat belts in front and rear seats of private vehicles.

“But the law does not require the use of child restraints or child restraint devices for young children on board,” Velarde said.

Sarmiento, another author, said among the road safety laws being pushed by the United Nations (UN) and the World Health Organization (WHO), the requirement for the use of child restraint is one of the few remaining, if not the only remaining safety measure that the Philippines has not yet legislated.

He said based on the data from the Philippine National Police (PNP), there had been 24,656 road crashes as of 2015, leaving 1,040 people dead.

“Moreover, in its Health Policy Notes, the Department of Health stressed that among children 0 to 17 years of age, road crashes are the second leading cause of death next to drowning,” Sarmiento said.

The bill provides it shall be unlawful for the driver of a privately-owned motor vehicle not to secure at all times a child in a child restraint system while transporting such child on any road, street or highway.

It also provides that even if the child is being secured in a child restraint system, at no instance shall such child be left unaccompanied by an adult in a motor vehicle.

The bill prohibits any child under 12 years old to occupy the front seat of a motor vehicle.

Under the proposal, the term “child” refers to any person 12 years old and below.

On the other hand, the term “child restraint system” is defined as a device capable of accommodating a child occupant in a sitting or supine position. It is so designed as to diminish the risk of injury to the wearer, in the event of a collision or an abrupt deceleration of the vehicle, by limiting the mobility of the child’s body.

The bill mandates the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to use as benchmark the standards set forth in UN Regulation 44 and UN Regulation 129 including its evolving standards in the approval or disapproval of child restraint systems that will be sold, distributed and used in the Philippines.

The DTI is further tasked to conduct a mandatory testing of all locally manufactured child restraints system and shall certify imported child restraints systems.

The bill directs d all manufacturers, importers, distributors and sellers of child restraints systems to secure from the Bureau of Products Standards (BPS) a Philippine Standards (PS) mark license and/or Import Clearance Certificate (ICC) license prior to the marketing, sale and distribution of their products.

It is unlawful for any person, company, partnership, sole proprietorship, manufacturer, distributor, and/or importer to manufacture, use, import, sell, distribute, donate, lease, advertise, promote or otherwise market the use of substandard or expired child restraint system.

Any driver of a privately-owned motor vehicle who fails to secure at all times a child in a child restraint system while transporting such child on any road, street or highway; who left such child unaccompanied by an adult in a motor vehicle; and allows any child under 12 years old to sit in a front seat of a motor vehicle shall be fined P1,000 for the first offense; P2,000 for the second offense; P5,000 and suspension of the driver’s license for a period of one year for the third and succeeding offenses.

Any driver who knowingly allows the use of substandard and/or expired child restraint system or permits the use of child restraint system that does not bear the PS mark or the ICC sticker and certificate shall be fined P1,000 for the first offense; P3,000 for the second offense and P5,000 and the suspension of the driver’s license for a period of one year for the third and succeeding offenses.

Tampering, alteration, forgery and imitation of the PS mark or the ICC stickers in the child restraint system shall be punished with a fine of P50,000 to P100,000 for each and every child restraint system product without prejudice to other penalties imposed in Republic Act No. 7394 or the “Consumer Act of the Philippines.”

Other authors of the bill include Deputy Speaker Raneo Abu, Reps. Edgar Mary Sarmiento (1st District, Samar), Florida Robes (Lone District, San Jose del Monte City), Johnny Ty Pimentel (2nd District, Surigao del Sur), Romeo Acop (2nd District, Antipolo City), Edgar Erice (2nd District, Caloocan City), Renato Unico (1st District, Camarines Norte), Henry Ong (2nd District, Leyte), Micaela Violago (2nd District, Nueva Ecija), Crystal Bagatsing (5th District, Manila), Carlo Lopez (2nd District, Manila), Estrellita Suansing (1st District, Nueva Ecija), Alfred Vargas III (5th District, Quezon City), Eric Olivarez (1st District, Parañaque City), Horacio Suansing (2nd District, Sultan Kudarat), Mark Aeron Sambar (Party-list PBA), Gavini Pancho (2nd District, Bulacan), Strike Revilla (2nd District, Cavite), Jesulito Manalo (Party-list, ANGKLA), Luis Raymund Villafuerte, Jr. (2nd District, Camarines Sur), Winston Castelo ((2nd District, Quezon City), Erico Aristotle Aumentado (2nd District, Bohol), Edwin Ong (2nd District, Northern Samar), Rosemarie Arenas (3rd District, Pangasinan) and Aurelio Gonzales, Jr. (3rd District, Pampanga). / MVIP