December 4, 2022

Several groups on Sunday urged the government to build safer roads for children to prevent road accidents and fatalities.

During the unveiling of a mural marking World Day of Remembrance for Road Victims at Manila’s Children’s Road Safety Park, nonprofit advocacy group ImagineLaw said 1,670 children and youth are killed in road accidents in the country every year.

“Government, in partnership with stakeholders, should continue to improve road infrastructure, update policies and enforce traffic laws to ensure they include child safety,” Atty said. Daphne Marcelo, road safety project manager at ImagineLaw, said.

“Playing outside or commuting to school shouldn’t be a death sentence for kids,” she added.

She stressed that the country’s road system should be designed to protect the lives of the most vulnerable road users, such as children and pedestrians.

Hannah Estepa, a 15-year-old advocate for visually impaired children with the Youth Alliance for Road Discipline, said the ideal road for a child with a disability is one with extra lanes and railings.

In response, Undersecretary for Transportation Mark Steven Pastor said the government “will provide necessary recognition and support to our traffic accident victims,” ​​citing Republic Act Number 11468, or the National Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims, Survivors, and Their Families Act.

“It recognizes the critical work of emergency services and raises awareness of road safety and promotes evidence-based interventions to prevent road deaths and injuries, among other things,” he said.

He pledged that road safety would be a top priority and that the Department of Transportation’s Roads Sector (DOTr) and its affiliated agencies would work on better and safer roads.

“Kami sa Kagawaran ng Transportasyon ay gumagawa ng hakbang [we at the Department of Transportation are taking action]. We reaffirm our commitment to provide the support and necessary infrastructure so that we can prevent traffic accidents not only for children but for everyone,” he added.

For the part of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Acting Chairman Romando Artes apologized for the agency’s mistakes after a traffic accident involving its tow truck that killed one person and injured three others.

“We will own up to our mistake. We will try to improve ‘yung aming serbisyo para hindi na maulit ‘yung ganitong pangyayari. Malungkot ako dahil nandito tayo tayo na isan event na allegedly para sa kaligtasan ng kalsada and yet, kami mismo, ang aming ahensiya ay nag-contribute sa pagkasawi ng isan tao,” he said.

(We will admit our mistake. We will try to improve our service so that such an incident does not happen again. I am sad because we are here at an event that is supposed to be for traffic safety, and yet our agency itself contributed to it until the death of a person.) —KG, GMA Integrated News