MANILA (UPDATE) - Former Sen. JV Ejercito said Wednesday he supports the postponement of the full implementation of the child car seat law, which requires child restraint system in private vehicles to prevent injury in case of a crash.
"Anyway, the children have to be home. There's no school. Supposedly they're not traveling so it becomes moot and academic. So, while there's pandemic, I would also suggest to hold in abeyance the implementation of this particular law," he told ANC.
Ejercito is the principal author of Republic Act 11229 or Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act, which took effect Tuesday, Feb. 2.
Under the law, children 12 years and below are disallowed from sitting in the front seat of a private vehicle. They should be placed in a restraint system, unless the child is at least 4.92 feet tall and can be properly secured by a regular belt.
Violators can face fines up to P5,000 and suspension of driver's license for a year.
Ejercito clarified that the use of CRS depends on the size and height of the child.
"So, if a child is already able to use, for example, he's 12-years-old [and his] height is 4'11, is able to wear the adult seatbelt, there is no need for a car seat anymore," he said. "You only use the car seat or child restraint system if the child is not able to use the adult seatbelt."
The former senator lamented that the confusion stemmed from a "reckless comment" by a Land Transportation Office official.
Should the implementation of the law be deferred, Ejercito urged the government to improve on the information campaign of the child car seat law.
The Department of Transportation can also use the hiatus to properly study on how the CRS can be applied to jeepneys and buses, he said.
"It will really be a challenge for us to enforce but I'm hoping, sooner or later, people would already realize that it's the lives of their infants and the children that we are concerned with him and nothing else," Ejercito added.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority from 2006 to 2014 showed that 17 percent of road crash victims or more than 12,000 were children.
Sen. Grace Poe, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Public Services, also called for the deferment of the implementation of the law.
"Maganda ang intensyon, ngunit hindi napapanahon," she wrote on Twitter. "Dapat suspendihin muna ang implementasyon hangga't walang maayos na guidelines sa pagpapatupad nito."
(It is well-intentioned but ill-timed. It should be suspended until there's clear guidelines of the law.)
Poe and other senators on Tuessday filed Senate Resolution 633 urging DOTr and LTO to hold off the implementation of the child car seat law "until necessary guidelines are put in place and agency mandates are fulfilled."