MANILA – Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año on Friday urged local government units (LGUs) to continue the nationwide Road Clearing Operation (RCO) and campaign against tricycles on national highways to protect children from road accidents following the shift of schools to face-to-face classes.
“The Road Clearing Ops and ‘no trike on national highway’ campaign have to be sustained. Hindi puwedeng ningas-kugon (We cannot lack sustained perseverance on this). We urge our LGUs to continue and sustain their successes to protect our children from road accidents, lalo na ngayong papalapit na ang (especially now that we are about to resume) face-to-face classes,” Año said in a news release.
Año said out of 41,365 barangays covered by the RCO initiative, 93.53 percent or 38,690 barangays continue to respond to the call to clear streets of obstructions in March 2022 with the latest data submitted on May 6, 2022.
He noted that all regions were above the 80 percent adherence rate establishing the hard work performed in the barangays in ensuring that their streets are free of obstructions and are safe for children to travel.
“Malaking tagumpay ito [RCO] sa pagtiyak natin na magiging ligtas ang ating mga anak sa kalsada. Hinihikayat natin ang mga LGU na protektahan ang mga bata sa pamamagitan ng pagpapatutuloy ng mga nasimulan ng programang ito sa susunod na administrasyon (This is a big victory in ensuring that our children will be safe on the streets. We encourage our LGUs to protect the children through continuing this program under the next administration),” he added.
He said LGUs and the PNP must ensure that national highways must be free of tricycles and pedicabs unless otherwise allowed by an ordinance in the absence of alternate routes.
The DILG Secretary also said each city and municipality should ensure that their tricycle task force is activated and is separate from the tricycle regulatory boards to formulate or review its tricycle route plan.
“Kadalasang tricycle ang sinasakyan ng mga bata sa pagpasok sa eskuwela kaya naman mahalaga na tiyaking ng mga LGUs na ligtas ang daan at sumusunod ang mga drayber sa mga limitasyon nila (Children frequently ride tricycles in going to schools so it is important for LGUs to ensure road safety and that drivers are complying with limitations).”
Policies vs. road traffic injuries
Año said newly elected officials (NEOs) must also look at formulating policies that lead to the protection of children from road accidents for this will play a critical role in ensuring that they are safe on the streets and far from road traffic injuries.
He encouraged them to include in their priority programs and/or continue existing road safety initiatives protecting children from road accidents and penalizing individuals exposing children to the possibility of involvement in road traffic injuries.
He said NEOs have the most opportune prospects as new LGU officials to dictate the pace and introduce new programs on top of their platforms.
“As the influx of children travel on roadways going and back from their schools, children are exposed to road accidents. These policies on road safety can save lives and reduce road collision deaths and injuries,” Año added.
Meanwhile, DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya urged LGUs to join the Nationwide Child Road Safety Law Enforcement Visibility activities where the government’s effort on road safety for children will be highlighted.
Malaya said cities such as Quezon, Valenzuela, Tuguegarao, Danao, Ormoc, and Zamboanga are participating in the event by setting up separate checkpoints around schools to distribute information, education, and communication materials on various road safety laws.
“We are likewise encouraging all LGUs nationwide to join us in Nationwide Child Road Safety Law Enforcement Visibility activities and participate by initiating parallel activities, advocacy efforts, and related programs in preparation for the opening of classes,” he said.
The Nationwide Child Road Safety Law Enforcement Visibility activities are part of the government’s ‘Oplan Balik Eskuwela’ and is led by the National Coalition for Child Road Traffic Injury Prevention in partnership with national government agencies and civil society organizations. (PR)