The National Government has committed to safer roads along school zones as enforcement agencies prepare for ‘Oplan Balik Eskwela’ nationwide.
“With the resumption of 100% face-to-face classes nationwide, it is only logical for the government to give priority to the road safety of children – the future of our country.”
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) Undersecretary Mark Steven Pastor declared the national government’s support to protect children on roads as he opened “Oplan Balik Eskwela 2022: A Child Road Safety Law Enforcement Visibility Day,” in Ramon Magsaysay National High School, Quezon City during the National Safe Kids Week.
With schools set to reopen in August after more than two years in the pandemic, DOTr conducted simultaneous road safety checks in different locations throughout the country to ensure that important road safety laws are observed around school zones. The DOTr conducted the activity with the Department of Education, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) through select local government units (LGUs), Land Transportation Office (LTO) through its regional and district offices, and Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), in partnership with other members of the National Coalition for Child Road Traffic Injury Prevention (National Coalition for CRTIP).
“This activity serves as a ‘test run’ of our enforcement operations when 100% face-to-face classes resume. MMDA wholeheartedly commits to support the National Coalition for CRTIP to keep children safe on roads,” said Atty. Victor Maria Nuñez, head of the MMDA Traffic Discipline Office.
The agencies also collaborated with LGUs that have enacted or are enacting comprehensive road safety ordinances, including Quezon City, Tuguegarao City, Ormoc City, and Danao City. They highlighted the critical role that local government plays in enforcing road safety laws.
In his speech, LTO Law Enforcement Service Deputy Director Roberto Valera explained why enforcement of road safety laws is key to making Philippine roads safer for vulnerable road users like children.
“To deter unsafe road user behavior, we know that strong, sustained, and highly visible enforcement efforts are needed, in addition to enacting policies with road safety interventions,” he stated.
Public interest law group ImagineLaw, secretariat of the National Coalition for CRTIP, cited the increasing number of road crash fatalities among children as the reason that led these enforcement agencies to work hand in hand.
“It takes a village to protect a child. Young children have physical and cognitive limitations that make them more vulnerable to road traffic injuries. It is then our role as adults to protect children through effective enforcement of existing road safety laws,” said Atty. Natasha Daphne Marcelo, Road Safety Project Manager of ImagineLaw.
Marcelo also reminded motorists to S.T.A.R.T. S-low down; T-ravel with car seats where required by law; A-lways buckle up; R-ide with a helmet; and T-urn down alcohol and drugs.
Aside from giving warnings to traffic law violators this morning, enforcers along Ramon Magsaysay Blvd. in Sta. Mesa Manila and other checkpoints nationwide also distributed information, education, and communications materials about road safety laws.