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UN Decade: Road safety as a way of life

April 27, 2012 8:47pm

The UN Decade of Action for Road Safety, led by the Department of Transportation and Communications in the Philippines, is targeting to cut the number of road accidents in half by 2020, Transportation and Communications Assistant Secretary Dante Lantin said in a press conference Thursday in Antipolo City.
 
"By 2020, road safety will no longer be a slogan, but a way of life for every Filipino," Lantin said.
 
Lantin is the National Focal Point of the movement in the Philippines.
 
Data released by the movement reveals that 3,500 people die on the road everyday and 1.3 million each year worldwide, while 50 million are injured in road accidents.
 
In the global spectrum of road safety, however, developing countries like the Philippines have grimmer statistics than developed countries, Lantin noted.
 
Launched in May 2011, more than 100 countries have joined the global campaign.
 
The DOTC-led campaign in the Philippines is in partnership with the National Center for Commuter Safety and Protection, the Motorcyle Philippines Federation, and the We want Bike Lanes in RP movement, which is supported by the Philippine National Red Cross.
 
For its first anniversary on May 13, the movement is holding simultaneous relay-runs from Luneta and Antipolo in Rizal, a motorbike caravan from Taguig, a bikeathon of 500 bikers from Tiendesitas in Pasig, and a walkathon of 500 people from the University of the Philippines in Diliman. All groups will converge for a program at the Quezon City Memorial Circle.
 
Different stakeholder groups such as bikers, motorcyclists, runners, and commuters are joining the event.
 
"These groups are the vulnerable users. Gusto lang namin iparating sa lipunan na sila ay may karapatan sa kalye at dapat igalang," Lantin said.
 
There will also be exhibits, talks on road safety, blood-letting, and simulated safe motorcycle driving.
 
"While the activities run for only half a day, the government and its partners hope to inculcate [road safety] in every Filipino through many years to come," the Decade of Action for Road safety said in a press release.
 
Lantin said the event will also commemorate the death of Chit Estella, a veteran journalist and journalism professor at UP, who was killed in a car crash along the Commonwealth Avenue–also known as the "Killer Highway"– in Quezon City on May 13, 2011.
 
She was riding a taxi near the UP-Ayala Land TechnoHub along when a speeding bus slammed into the back of her cab.
 
The uproar over Estella's death ignited questions and debates on road safety in the Philippines, and inspired efforts to improve the situation, like the filing of House Bill 3370, which seeks to give bus drivers and conductors fixed salaries instead of commission-based compensation to eliminate competition among them on the road.
 
ON Jan. 6, 2012, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board ordered public utility bus operators to implement the government-prescribed salary rate, working hours, and minimum benefits for bus drivers. —VS, GMA News
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