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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Sotto to critics of child car seat law: Please read it first before opposing it

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Senate President Vicente Sotto III, in advance of Tuesday’s
scheduled Senate hearing of the Committee on Public Services to tackle proposals to defer enforcement of the seat belt law, batted for its early implementation.

Taking the floor at yesterday’s session, the Senate leader
acknowledged that the Philippines is “behind when it comes to safety in transportation, especially the safety of the children.”

“We are behind in transportation, and that includes the Department of Transportation” Sotto III said, adding: “I can only pray that our children and grandchildren do not get hurt because of our misunderstanding of the law. Kaya please, basa muna bago kumontra.”

The Committee on Public Services, chaired by Senator Grace Poe, set the hearing on  Republic Act 11229 embodying the Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act and tackle related resolutions filed deferring the implementation of RA 11229 otherwise known as the Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act.

Sotto III acknowledged that “even Malacañang is also supportive of the intent of the resolution which is the deferment of the implementation, that is according to Sen. Bong Go.”

“Now, if the reason for the postponement is due to the pandemic, this is alright with me. I support such a move. However, if the reason for the postponement is not due to the pandemic, but the law is being misinterpreted, that I cannot support,” he added.

The Senate leader asked: ‘Are we just going to allow our country to remain as a third world country in terms of safety of children? Many have a very low understanding of the law that we passed. There are countries similarly situated or shall we call underdeveloped or the
least developed countries such as El Salvador, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Mozambique, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, but their implementation of their car seat or child seat safety law are doing well.’

Sotto III also noted that “in the first world countries
obviously – United States, Europe, even in the developed countries here in Asia, when you rent a car, you will have to rent a child seat if you have a child with you. Wala namang umangal, no one complains. They’ve had it for years; it has been effective. As I have said, no complaints. Bakit dito sa atin, hindi na nga naiintindihan yung batas,
nagrereklamo pa?”

He asserted that Republic Act 11229 is “a very simple law” with just 18 sections, only nine of which are “considered to be cruxes and the rest are just the usual standard provisions.”

At the same time, the lawmaker laments that social media
contributes to the misinterpretation, recalling that “meron nagsasabi na eh paano daw yung anak niya 11 years old lang eh 5’8. Eh di hindi kailangan, hindi ba. Common sense. Eh 5’8 pala eh, kahit five years old lang yun, hindi kailangan. It has to be combined. The law says
combine the age and the height, ganoon. At saka weight. Yun ang maliwanag na maliwanag doon. I do not know what has gone through some of our friends.”

Clarifying the need for a car restraint system, he said:
“mandating the use of age-appropriate child restraint system,’ like car seats and booster seats, are one of the evidence-based road safety policies that will save lives of the minor passengers and will give them a better chance of surviving a car crash.”

He noted that the law covers only below 12 years old and with a height of less than 150-centimeters or 49-inches.  ‘If a child does not fall in this age and height requirement as provided by law, the usual seatbelt will suffice’” Sotto added.

Sotto III recalled that all the Senators present when the bill was approved, even on third reading, voted in favor in the 17th Congress. “Dalawampu na Senador ang bumoto rito. Twenty affirmative votes, no negative votes, no abstention. Sa House of Representatives, 225 affirmative votes.”

“Let us stop the blame game’” the Senate leader said. “There are people saying that naku daw merong mga gustong kumita, mga Chinese kaya daw ipinasok itong batas na ito. If that is the argument, well, then do not buy the iPhone dahil assembled in China. The Xiaomi
products, Huawei, Lenovo, shoes like Nike, Adidas, and other top sneaker brands. As they are all manufactured in China, baka kumita ang China pagka ganoon. Puro U.S. ang bilhin ninyo. Some plastic wares, furniture, housewares, various items sold through Lazada, Shopee, puro China yun, so it is not a reason. Huwag ninyong gagamitin na dahilan kasi baka raw may kikita lang, meron lang gustong kumita sa gobyerno.”

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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