MANILA (UPDATE) - Parents may bring their own child car seats when riding taxi cabs and transport network vehicle service to ensure the safety of their children, the law's author said Friday.
"Siguro 'pag meron kayong sanggol, mas maganda meron na rin ho kayong car seat," former Sen. JV Ejercito told Teleradyo when asked about taxi commuters.
(Maybe if you are traveling with an infant, it's better if you have your own [child] car seat.)
"Siyempre hindi naman natin siguro mai-eexpect na ang mga taxis ay meron silang car seat."
(Of course, we can't expect taxis to have their own [child] car seat.)
Ejercito, principal author of Republic Act 11229 or Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act, said applying child restraint system in buses and jeepneys would still be evaluated by the Department of Transportation for a year after the implementation of the law.
"Pero 'yong sa taxis, they are already equipped with seatbelts. So, puwede na po silang gumamit ng car seat," he said.
(But for taxis, they are already equipped with seatbelts. So, they should be able to use [child] car seat.)
"Sana po preferably meron na po 'yong parents na sasakay ng halimbawa Grab or taxi."
(It's preferable if parents bring their own [child car seats] when riding, for example, Grab or taxi.)
Section 9 of the law states that the DOTr shall conduct a study and recommend to Congress the use of CRS in public utility vehicles such as jeepneys, buses, including school buses, taxis, vans, coasters, accredited service vehicles of transportation network companies, and all other motor vehicles used for public transport.
Should the DOTr determine after study that child restraint systems are not applicable in certain public utility vehicles, it shall recommend to Congress other safety measures or regulations for the safe and secure transportation of children in such vehicles.
The price of child car seats, which expires after 5 years from date of manufacture, ranges from P2,000 to P25,000, Ejercito said.
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.
During the interview, Ejercito also chastised a Land Transportation Office executive for saying that families with bigger kids should get bigger cars in order to follow the child car seat law.
"Common sense lang naman po dapat 'yon attorney... I just want to be clear that the use of the child restraint or car seat depends on the size, the weight and the height of the child," he said.
"Ibig sabihin, 'pag kasya na po at abot niya na po ang normal na seatbelt, hindi na kinakailangan ang child restraint system or car seat."
(It means, if the child can fit the normal seatbelt, there's no need for the child restraint system or car seat.)
Amid confusion of the law and public backlash, transportation authorities have deferred the full implementation of the child car seat law.