(File photo)

MANILA – The 20-percent discount privilege granted under the law to senior citizens should be extended to fines on them for traffic violations, the chair of the House Committee on Public Order and Safety said Thursday.

Sta. Rosa City Rep. Dan Fernandez made the statement as he pushed for the immediate passage of House Bill 5402 that he filed Tuesday as the country celebrates the Elderly Filipino Week from Oct. 1 to 7.

He said elderlies still have much to contribute to nation-building, thus senior citizen-drivers should also be accorded the privilege of enjoying a discount of 20 percent on traffic fines.

Fernandez noted that despite their advanced age, many senior citizens still operate automobiles for a number of vital reasons.

“Elderly Filipinos driving jeepneys and cabs are still common sights on the road. Many seniors also drive their apos (grandchildren) to school, in reporting for work or simply as designated driver of the family,” he said.

“However, an elderly citizen’s driving reflexes, instincts and skills are no longer the same as what they used to be during his or her youth. Bumagal at hindi na sila (They have become slow and they are not) as sharp as before. Kaya minsan ay nagkakamali na sila sa pagmamaneho (So once in a while, they commit driving mistakes),” Fernandez said.

Under such circumstances, Fernandez said there is a need for the government to reduce imposable fines on Filipino motorists who have reached 60 and above, especially for seniors who rely on driving as the only source of livelihood.

“Given the usual small amount of such fines, it may be argued that whatever revenue loss to the government that might arise from the proposed discount, this would be far outweighed by the benefit of promoting the welfare and morale of our senior citizens,” he said.

HB 5402 covers all fines on traffic violations imposed by both national government agencies and local government units.

The bill also directs the chief of the Land Transportation Office and the chair of the Metro Manila Development Authority to draw the implementing rules and regulations as soon as the proposed measure is enacted into law. (PNA)