Press Release
March 31, 2008


In line with his advocacy on motorcycle and road safety, Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. is pushing for the banning of kids from riding motorcycles in national highways.

"Recent incidents have occurred where children were severely injured while riding on a motorcycle. These children lack the physical development to pay attention and properly secure themselves while riding," the senator pointed out.

In his speech during the 1st Laguna Motorcycle Riders Congress held last Saturday (March 29) at the Baker Hall, UP Los Baños, Laguna, Revilla announced his plan of filing a bill that would prohibit the riding of children seven years old and below on motorcycles along national highways.

He clarified that the bill is a separate measure from Senate Bill 1863 which he filed last year to mandate the wearing of standard quality helmets of all motorcycle drivers and back riders. "This is consistent with our advocacy to provide safety measures to all riders and passengers and avoid injury or fatality especially for children on motorcycles," Revilla said.

Under Senate Bill 1863, all motorcycle riders, the driver and the back rider, must wear standard quality helmets while driving motorcycles, whether on long or short drives, at any time of the day, and in any type of road and highway. Exempted are drivers of tricycles.

On the newest legislation that Revilla will be filing, the lawmaker emphasized that it is the duty of the government to protect the welfare of children. "In invoking its power of parens patriae, the state may exercise its authority to usurp the rights of the natural parent or guardian and to act as parent of any child or individual, or an incapacitated and dependent person who is in need of protection against danger, risks of their lives and limbs, " he explained.

Revilla said exceptions may be made in provinces where there is no vehicular traffic and where motorcycles are the only means of transportation. He is also considering pegging the maximum fine to ten thousand pesos.

Prior to his speech, Revilla joined thousand of motorcycle and scooter enthusiasts in a motorcade from Calamba City Hall going to the forum venue. The event was organized by DevCom208: Communication and Social Marketing Class 2007-2008 and the Motorcycle Philippines Federation (MCPF), in partnership with the Kabalikat CIVICOM -Laguna (Kabalikat), Safety Riders Club of Los Baños (SRC) and the Samahan ng mga Mag-aaral ng Teknolohiyang Panlipunan (STP-UPLB). A study conducted by Safe Kids Philippines, a global non-governmental organization dedicated to the prevention of unintentional injuries to children, revealed that at least 20 million children are at risk of dying or being injured in road accidents every year. It says 35,000 Filipino children die or injure in road accidents each year-or about 263 a day.

Last year, the World Health Organization (WHO) expressed concern on deaths and injuries from motorcycle accidents, which it considers as a public health epidemic in many countries in Asia, including in the Philippines .

In its report, the WHO said people belonging to low- and medium-income families use motorcycles as a family vehicle, often to fetch children from school.

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