MAKATI, PHILIPPINES — After the crackdown of “habal-habal”, the Makati City Council has passed a city ordinance prohibiting motorcycle drivers from carrying small children on board anywhere in the city. It also regulates the conveyance of minors in tricycles by prohibiting drivers from carrying minors in front or at the back of the driver’s seat.
City Ordinance No. 2017-135, named the “Children’s Safety in Tricycles and Motorcycles Ordinance of the City of Makati,” strictly prohibits driving a motorcycle with a child on board, unless all of the following conditions are met: a) the child’s feet can comfortably reach the foot peg of the motorcycle; b) the child’s arms can reach around and grasp the waist of the driver; and (c) the child is wearing a standard protective helmet which bears a Philippine Standard (PS) or Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) mark.
The said ordinance also prohibits tricycles operating anywhere within the city from conveying minors in front or at the back of the driver’s seat. The only exception provided by the ordinance is for cases where the minor or child being transported requires immediate medical attention.
Makati Mayor Abby Binay endorsed the passage of the ordinance in light of frequent news reports on road crashes involving children as victims not only in the metropolis, but in the provinces as well.
“Local governments must take swift and definitive action to arrest the growing number of children injured or killed in road crashes involving motorcycles and tricycles. It is our duty to use the powers vested in us to enact and implement laws that complement and strengthen national laws, and ensure these are strictly enforced in our own localities,” Binay said.
She also urged parents of minors to be proactive and warn their children to avoid riding at the backseat of tricycles (commonly called “back-ride”) since they would be highly vulnerable to injury, even death, in case the vehicle gets in a collision or road crash.
The mayor appealed to tricycle drivers, especially those hired to ferry young schoolchildren, to be always mindful of the safety of their passengers and prioritize safety over earning a living. She also said they should maintain their vehicles’ roadworthiness and keep them clean for the health and safety of their passengers.
Tricycle and motorcycle drivers who violate the ordinance will be penalized as follows: P2,000 on the first offense; P3,000 on the second offense; P5,000 or imprisonment for a maximum of six months, or both for the third offense, at the discretion of the court.
The said ordinance was published last December 12 in a newspaper of general circulation, and will take effect after 10 days, according to the Secretary to the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Makati.
The ordinance defines “minors” as persons below 18 years of age or those over but are unable to fully take care of themselves or protect themselves from abuse, neglect, cruelty, exploitation, or discrimination because of a physical or mental disability or condition.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) 2015 Global Status Report, around 53 percent of road crashes in the country involve motorcycles, while an estimated 96 Filipino children fall victim to road crashes every day.
Meanwhile, R.A. 10054 or the “Motorcycle Helmet Act of 2009” requires motorcycle riders and back riders to wear a standard protective motorcycle helmet which is compliant with the standards set by the Bureau of Product Standards (BPS) and bears a PS or ICC mark.