At the unveiling of a mural during the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims at the Children’s Road Safety Park Manila, several groups called on the government to improve road safety infrastructure and build safer streets for children, adding that there should be legislation to integrate road safety into the school curriculum.
One of the groups, public interest group ImagineLaw, cited date from the Philippine Statistics Authority showing that 1,670 Filipino children and young people aged 0 to 19 die annually due to road crashes.
“Playing outside or commuting to school should not be a death sentence for children,” said Daphne Marcelo, ImagineLaw project manager for road safety.
She added that putting the blame solely on parents was “unproductive, misguided and myopic” because government, community leaders, parents, teachers and road users all play a role in making streets safe for kids.
“We should not pull back on our road safety campaign until we bring the number of Filipinos killed or injured from road crashes down to zero,” said Robert Siy of Move As One Coalition, a transport and mobility advocacy group.
Transportation Undersecretary Steven Pastor, who attended the event, reaffirmed his department’s commitment to provide the necessary support and infrastructure to avoid road crash incidents.
Given the general condition of Filipino roads, government has its work cut out if it is serious at making the country’s streets safer, not just for kids, but for everyone in general. Sidewalks are practically unusable for their intended purpose, jaywalking is commonplace, speed limits non-existent, and basic traffic rules are generally ignored with impunity.*