The Land Transportation Office (LTO) allayed fears of motorists that the agency will start apprehending violators of Republic Act No. 11229 or the Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act.
The law, which disallows children 12 years old and below who are shorter than 4’11 from sitting in the front passenger seat of the vehicle and are to be left unattended inside a private vehicle, took effect on February 2, 2021, after its implementing rules and regulations was approved on December 23, 2019.
The Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act, which was enacted into law, requires children to use Child Restraint Systems (CRS) or child car seats that are appropriate for their age, height, and weight while inside a private vehicle.
Under the law, a private car owner should purchase and install CRS or car seat that is approved by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and is manufactured following the acceptable universal standards stated in UN Regulation Nos. 44 and 129. Approved car seats will be installed at fitting and installation areas.
In a virtual press conference , LTO Chief Assistant Secretary Edgar C. Galvante clarified that there will be no strict enforcement of the law for the meantime, and that instead of apprehensions, the Agency will focus on information dissemination about the new law, in coordination with other government agencies such as the Philippine Information Agency, the Department of Education, the DTI, and the private sector.
“Ang LTO po ay napag-utusan na i-implement ang batas na ito. Tutuparin ito at isasagawa ang kailangan para sa kapanatagan, kaalaman at kaayusan ng mga mamamayan,” said Asec Galvante.
“Ang ginagawa lang po natin ngayon ay pinapalawak ang kaalaman ng madla. Kung sakaling may makikitang lumabag dito, papaalalahanan ang mga ito na ang batas ay sa kapakanan ng ating mga mahal sa buhay–mga anak man, kapatid na bata o sinuman,” he added.
Galvante is calling on motorists to help the LTO implement the law, as it involves the safety of children who are passengers of private vehicles.
“Hindi po gagawin ng LTO ang mag-penalize agad, magbigay ng kaukulang sanction sa mga lumalabag. Ang panawagan po ay, again, we seek the cooperation and help of everyone para marating ‘yung purpose ng batas na ito–na ma-reduce natin, to the barest minimum, ‘yung mga insidente na kung saan ‘yung mga bata ang nadidisgrasya,” he said.
Galvante said it is the LTO’s aim to make motorists aware of the need to safely secure children inside private vehicles, and to turn this safety practice into a habit and part of a disciplined road culture.
He also invited the motorists and the public to immediately reach out to the LTO if they observe any irregularities in the enforcement of laws and policies.