MANILA – Those who cannot afford to purchase child car seats amid the prevailing coronavirus pandemic will not be apprehended or fined yet, Malacañang assured Tuesday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this comment after the Department of Transportation (DOTr) postponed the full enforcement of Republic Act 11229 or the Child Safety In Motor Vehicles Act as it finalizes enforcement protocols for the law.
The Land Transportation Office (LTO), an attached agency of the DOTr, also said authorities will not apprehend or issue tickets against drivers who will fail to comply with the law within six months. Instead, they will first educate drivers and parents on the law.
Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte himself recognizes that the country’s economy is “in bad shape” as millions of people have lost their jobs and livelihood.
“Nangako ang ating DOTr na hindi muna po sila manghuhuli pagdating dun sa mga wala pang mga car seats (The DOTr promised that they would not apprehend those who don’t have child car seats yet),” he said in a Palace press briefing.
While RA 11229 was supposed to take effect Tuesday, Roque said the DOTr decided to defer the implementation of the law due to the current economic situation.
“Ang nangyari po diyan talagang nasa bastas merong one-year period no na para hindi muna ma-implement ‘yan nang mabigyan ng pagkakataon na makabili, makaipon ng mga car seats. Pero tinamaan nga po tayo ng Covid so ngayon po dahil siya ay epektibo na by law, nangako naman po sila, naintindihan nila ang ating kalagayan ngayon (What happened is it’s in the law that there’s a one-year period before it is implemented to allow people to purchase, save up for child car seats. But we were hit by Covid so now that it’s in effect, the DOTr promised not to apprehend, they understand the current situation),” he said.
In a statement, the DOTr said the LTO is in the process of finalizing enforcement protocols, considering that special training is needed due the involvement of children.
“Both the DOTr and the LTO are in agreement that a deferment of the full implementation/enforcement of this new rule is warranted, especially given our current economic situation amid this still raging pandemic,” the DOTr said.
The DOTr said the LTO was supposed to conduct an Enforcement and Communications Planning Workshop on the implementation of the law last March 19, 2020 but it was canceled due to quarantine restrictions.
RA 11229, which was approved on Feb. 22, 2019, requires the use of child restraint systems (CRS) among children 12 years old and below with a height of 4 feet 11 inches and below.
These CRS, it said, must be appropriate to a child’s age, height, weight, and must be mounted in a rear seat of the vehicle.
Under the law, those who use expired or non-compliant child car seats, will be fined with PHP1,000 for the first offense, PHP3,000 for the second offense, and PHP5,000 for the third offense.
Manufacturers or sellers of non-compliant child car seats and those who fake compliance stickers will be fined PHP50,000 to PHP100,000. (PNA)