MANILA – An official of the Land Transportation Office apologized Monday hours after his statement advising parents with tall children to "get bigger cars" in order to comply with the new car seat law went viral.
In his apology, LTO-National Capital Region director Clarence Guinto said he was "sorry for the confusion" that stemmed from his answer in a TeleRadyo interview earlier in the day.
"I am sorry for the confusion I have caused with my remark, which was made in jest. I realized now that it was inappropriate," Guinto, a lawyer, said.
In the TeleRadyo interview, Guinto was asked about concerns that bigger kids using booster seats to comply with Republic Act No. 11229, which takes effect Tuesday, could be in greater danger.
"Siguro, Ma'am, laki-lakihan mo ang sasakyan mo (Maybe you should get bigger cars)," he said.
The interview has gone viral on social media, with netizens pointing out the alleged "lack of common sense" in the LTO's policy.
Under the law, drivers are required to properly secure a child 12 years old and younger in a restraint system, unless the child is at least 4.92 feet tall and can be properly secured by a regular belt.
"To clarify, if the child is above 4'11, the child is exempted from using a child car seat under the law and may be secured using the regular seat belt," Guinto said in his apology statement.
Based on the law's implementing rules, violators will be fined P1,000 on first offense; P2,000 on second offense; and P5,000 and suspension of the driver's license for a period of one year on third and succeeding offenses.