Press Release
February 11, 2014

Press Statement of Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph G. Recto

Accidents, to include vehicular mishaps, is the 5th leading killer in the Philippines today, ahead of diabetes and TB.

In Metro Manila, one vehicular accident happens every 7 minutes, based on the 77,110 incidents the MMDA reported in 2011.

That year, 396 died in traffic accidents in the National Capital Region, or the equivalent of two Airbuses full of passengers crashing with all fatalities dead.

Nearly half of the fatalities (181) were not even aboard vehicles but pedestrians like those who were crushed to death when a bus plowed through the waiting shed they were standing in near Dasmarinas Village one early morning last year.

We may not fully know the total death toll of the carnage in our streets as official vehicular reporting is spotty and fragmented.

The DPWH, for example, in its Traffic Accident Recording and Analysis System (TARAS), recorded a mere 16 vehicular fatalities in Metro Manila in 2012.

To this government's credit, however, it has drafted a Philippine Road Safety Action Plan for 2011-2020. But like many government plans, it has yet to be fully translated from PowerPoint presentation to actual implementation.

It can begin by tapping the P12 billion annual collection from Road Users Tax for road safety. The law which created it, RA 8794, earmarks 7.5 % of collections for road safety.

There are many things to be done to arrest this national epidemic of road deaths. Let me just echo some recommendations the said plan has prescribed.

  • Develop a national road crash database system.

  • Adopt road design standards that will incorporate sidewalks and mandatory bicycle and motorcycle lanes

  • Implement the Anti-Drunk Driving Law or RA 10586. Ayon sa TARAS, isa sa bawat walong aksidente sa buong Pilipinas ay kinasasangkutan ng lasing.

  • Urge LGUs to pass complementary ordinances against drunk driving, the use of cellphone while driving, among others

  • Identify accident-prone areas and adopt countermeasures for these so-called "black spots"

  • Conduct random motor vehicle safety audit of PUVs about to leave terminals for long trips

  • Grant fiscal incentives and tax breaks to vehicles that provide high level of protection

  • Use a percentage of license fees for driver training and promotion of road safety. 4,537,720 will be issued this year and at P585 for a Non-Professional Driver's License, the total collection will be P2.66 billion

  • Urge LGUs to increase road safety standards for tricycles but without increasing regulatory fees

  • Sustain anti-overloading and overspeeding campaigns

  • Introduce "headlights on while engine is running" rule for motorcycles

  • Continue professionalization program for law enforcers. Eliminate 'kotong' in enforcement

  •  Increase patrol visibility and deployment of law enforcement officers

  • Create traffic discipline zones

  • Train law enforcement units on first aid and basic life support system

  • Establish a single emergency call number nationwide

  • Establish emergency response units

  •  Set up trauma units in all tertiary hospitals

To these, let me add, a massive street lighting program specifically on underpasses and tunnels. The designation of school zones as "Safe Kids Area" with no cost spared in the installation of warning signs, traffic lights and pedestrian lanes around the campuses where 23 million of our children go daily. A quick-response mechanism to patch up potholes because, though they are small, but they can slow down traffic and cause accidents.

The LTFRB should also implement its Memorandum Circular 14-02 prescribing an enhanced passenger accident insurance program.

Let me also remind the DOTC of the promissory notes it had attached to its P46.7 billion budget this year. These performance guarantees, which are spelled out in the General Appropriations Act for 2014, form part of the law. Let me cite just one: Inspect and audit 100,000 land transportation franchise holders.

Kailangan natin ng ligtas na daan kasi halos 1,000 sasakyang panglupa ang naidadagdag sa ating masikip na mga lansangan kada 24 oras. Humarurot ang bilang ng sasakyan mula 7,138,942 noong 2011 hanggang 7,463,393 noong sumunod na taon. Kalahati nito ay mga motorsiklo.

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