President Rodrigo Duterte (left) and Sen. Christopher Lawrence Go (right). (Presidential photo)

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the postponement of the implementation of Republic Act (RA) 11229 or the Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act, Senator Christopher Lawrence Go said on Saturday.

In a Laging Handa briefing, Go said Duterte told him on Thursday night that it is not the proper time to enforce the law.

Siya (Duterte) mismo ayaw rin niyang i-implement ito. Sabi niya not this time (He is also against the implementation [of RA 11229]. He said not this time),” Go, Duterte’s former longtime aide, said.

Duterte decided to suspend the implementation of the Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act, as he acknowledged that it would be cumbersome to Filipinos who are already suffering due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, Go said.

Hindi pa po napapanahon na i-implement iyang batas na ito. Nagkakahirap-hirap na nga po iyong Pilipino, huwag na nating pahirapan pa (It is not the proper time to implement this law. Our Filipinos are already suffering, and we should not add burden on them),” Go said.

The full implementation of RA 11229 was supposed to take effect on February 2 but was deferred due to the current economic situation in the country amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Land Transportation Office (LTO) also announced Monday that it will begin with the “soft enforcement” of the Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act.

The LTO said the soft enforcement of the law will focus on information and education campaigns about the law, as well as on giving warnings to violators.

Go said it is important to focus on information dissemination to let the public understand the advantages of implementing RA 11229.

Darating din ang panahon na mai-implement ito dahil batas na po ito (Now, time will come when this law needs to be implemented),” he said. “Importante po ‘yung information campaign: ano ho ba ito, bakit ba ipinasa ito at ano ho bang mabuting idudulot nito (Information campaign is important to inform the public about the benefits of having this law),” he said.

Duterte on Feb. 22, 2019 signed RA 11229 which mandates the use of child restraint systems (CRS) among children 12 years old and below with a height of 4 feet 11 inches and below.

The CRS, according to RA 11229, must be appropriate to a child’s age, height, and weight, and must be mounted in a rear seat of the vehicle.

The CRS must also comply with standards set by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) as specified in DTI Department Administrative Order No. 20-03, and other international standards including those under the United Nations Regulations 44 and 149.

Anyone who uses expired or non-compliant child car seats will face a fine of PHP1,000 for the first offense, PHP3,000 for the second offense, and PHP5,000 for the third offense.

Manufacturers or sellers of non-compliant child car seats and those who fake compliance stickers will have to pay a fine of PHP50,000 to PHP100,000. (PNA)