MANILA – The Senate on Monday approved on third and final reading a bill that seeks to provide a network of safe pathways for those who prefer to walk, bike, or use other non-motorized vehicles to their regular destinations.
Senate Bill No. 1582, otherwise known as the Safe Pathways Act, was approved with 23 affirmative votes, no negative vote, and no abstention.
The bill was primarily introduced and sponsored by Senator Pia Cayetano, chairperson of the Sustainable Development Goals, Innovation, and Futures Thinking.
Also authoring the measure are Senators Francis "Tol" Tolentino, Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao, Juan Edgardo "Sonny" Angara, Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa, Joel Villanueva, Grace Poe, Ramon Bong Revilla Jr., Richard Gordon, Cynthia Villar, Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go, Majority Leader Juan Miguel "Migz" Zubiri, and Minority Leader Franklin Drilon.
A health advocate and a cyclist, Cayetano said the bill would promote multiple health benefits and help improve the quality of life for Filipinos due to reduced carbon emissions and less use of energy and resources.
"This is good news to the biking community, which has grown significantly during this time of Covid. More people are now using a bicycle to go to work and in their daily travels," Cayetano said. "It is important that there is a network of bicycle lanes to ensure continuity through various localities, and the safety of bikers.”
Under the bill, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), in coordination with local government units (LGUs) shall identify and create a network of bicycle lanes connecting to essential destinations such as workplaces, medical facilities or groceries, schools, banks, and other similar places.
Cayetano added that 'slow streets' is a relatively new concept in the country which would be devoted for pedestrians and cyclists, while limiting access to motor vehicles.
Once enacted into law, the government will mandate public places, government offices, schools, places of work, and commercial establishments like malls, banks, and hospitals to provide adequate parking spaces for bicycles and other non-motorized vehicles. (PR)