MANILA - Road traffic deaths continue to rise in the Philippines, with an estimated 12,690 deaths in 2016, a new report recently released by the World Health Organization (WHO) showed.
About half of the number of road traffic deaths in the Philippines involved vulnerable road users such as motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians, the WHO Global Status Report on Road Safety 2018 indicated.
Thousands of road users also get injured and disabled from road crashes, the report said.
To address road safety issues, the Philippines developed the Philippines Road Safety Action Plan 2017-2022, adopting a vision of zero road traffic death, an official of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said.
"Nagbibigay kami ng road safety education sa lahat ng road users. Kami na ang pumupunta kapag may humihingi sa amin ng seminar," Anita Cannaoay, Head of the MMDA’s Traffic Education Unit, said when asked how they are protecting vulnerable road users.
(We give road safety education to all road users. We conduct seminars whenever requested.)
Parents should also look after their children as most accidents happen when kids are playing along streets, Alberto Suansing, secretary-general of the Philippine Global Road Safety Partnership, said.
"Unfortunately, sa bayan natin, nakagisnan ng mga bata ang maling gawain. Ang kalsada ginagawang playground. Dinadaanan ng mga truck, pero ang parents naman, pinababayaan lang," he said.
(Unfortunately in our country, children are used to doing the wrong thing. They treat the streets as if it's a playground. Trucks pass by the roads where they play, but their parents just let them be.)
"Ang mga magulang (parents) must recognize the risks involved," he said.
The WHO report identified road traffic injuries as the leading killer of children and young people aged 5 to 29 around the world.
While there are already laws on regulating speed, drunk-driving, and motorcycle and helmet use, some issues surround the effective enforcement of these laws, said Jesus dela Fuente, executive director of Safe Kids Worldwide Philippines.
"We have to coordinate with the barangay and MMDA to maintain the repainting of crosswalks, improvement of sidewalks, safe school zones for children. This is not only engineering, but also policy and ordinance," he said.
"[We need] Three E’s: engineering, education and enforcement, including parents’ education. Child must always be on the safe side. Children will follow what their elders do," he said.
The Philippines "is progressing in the area of road safety management" but post-crash or pre-hospital care must also be improved to save more lives on the road, the report said.
- report from Bianca Dava, ABS-CBN News