“National Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims” final reading

The House of Representatives unanimously approved on third and final reading House Bill No. 9069, seeking to designate the third Sunday of November every year as the “National Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims, Survivors, and Their Families” and ensure its meaningful observance.

The bill garnered the votes of all 171 House Members present during the plenary voting.

The bill is principally authored by Reps. Trisha Nicole Velasco-Catera (Party-list, MATA), Florida Robes (Lone District, San Jose Del Monte City), John Marvin “Yul Servo” Nieto (3rd District, Manila), Edward Vera Perez Maceda (4th District, Manila), Eric Martinez (2nd District, Valenzuela City), Dale Malapitan (1st District,Caloocan City), Rodolfo Fariñas (1st District, Ilocos Norte), and Cesar Sarmiento (Lone District, Catanduanes), among others.

In her letter to President Rodrigo Duterte, Robes appealed that HB 9069 be certified as urgent by the Administration. “I am hoping for your support as we work for the prompt enactment into law of this measure,” said Robes.

Robes also cited the drastic increase of deaths due to road crashes nationwide. She said a report given by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed there has been a 65 percent increase in deaths from 2006 to 2016 due to road crashes.

“Moreover, road crash is also the Top 1 cause of death for ages 15 to 24 in the last five years. In solidarity with 92,007 families who have lost their loved ones, I am appealing to the President to please consider this matter,” said Robes.

Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas, who lost his son Rodolfo Jr. to a motorcycle accident on November 15, 2015, also wrote the President, urging the Chief Executive to certify as urgent HB 9069.

Meanwhile, Erwin Matias Paala, a hit and run victim and President of the Families of Road Victims and Survivors (FRVS), in a separate letter of appeal to President Duterte, stressed that they need all the help from the Administration in ensuring the “National Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims” will be institutionalized in all LGUs as a permanent reminder of the unspeakable suffering caused by road crashes and as an urgent call for collective action with all stakeholders across society.

“Once the bill is certified urgent by the Administration, the law will end our long wait,” said Paala.

Paala said with the help of Undersecretary Lisa Grace Bersales of the PSA, they were able to secure a complete 11-year database of road accidents from years 2006 to 2016. He said the figures showed that road crash was the 1) Top 1 Cause of Death from 2012 to 2016 for youth aged 15 to 20; 2) Top 1 Cause of Death from 2013 to 2016 for youth aged 20 to 24; 3) Top 2 cause of Death 2007 to 2012 for youth aged 20 to 24; 4) Top 2 Cause of Death in 2006 t0 2012 for youth aged 20 to 24.

He said the data also showed the following: 1) 85.5 percent increase in deaths from 2006 to 2016 for youth aged 15 to 20; 2) 82.96 percent increase in deaths from 2006 to 2016 for youth aged 20 to 24; 3) 65.65 percent increase in deaths from 2006 to 2016 across all age groups; and 8) 92,700 total deaths in 11 years from 2006 to 2016 across all age groups.

House Bill 9069 declares it is the policy of the State to nurture a Filipino society that is aware of the causes, consequences, and costs of road crash deaths and injuries. The State values human lives by way of remembering the victims of road crashes, recognizing the suffering of their affected families and communities and advocating for the improvement of the Philippine road safety situation to prevent the wastage of more lives.

Hence, the bill declares every third Sunday of November of each year as the “National Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims, Survivors, and their Families.”

The bill mandates the Department of Transportation (DOTr), in coordination with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Land Transportation Office (LTO), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), to ensure the meaningful observance of the National Day of Remembrance and implement pertinent programs and activities.

These activities include commemorative ceremonies, including flower-laying activities, candlelight vigil, solidarity march, and special assemblies in provinces, cities, and municipalities nationwide for road crash victims and survivors, including their families and support groups.

As a sign of support, local government units (LGUs) are encouraged to put up memorials and tributes in strategic local public spaces or road networks to commemorate the lives that were lost and/or injured and to promote road safety to the public.

Special recognition shall be accorded to public officers, private stakeholders, volunteers and organizations who are instrumental in saving lives or supporting victims, survivors and their families.

In coordination with the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Justice (DOJ) and other concerned agencies, the DOTr shall conduct multi-sectoral symposia, conferences or consultations focusing on : 1) how to improve the trauma care system and emotional support programs given to victims, survivors and their families; 2) how to improve the legal response, including resolutions of pending cases and investigations and immediate compensation of victims and/or their families; and 3) how to improve the road safety situation by addressing the key risk factors to prevent the occurrence of similar road crash incidents.

The DOTr, with the assistance of other government agencies and private stakeholders, shall conduct public awareness campaigns that provide a platform to victims and survivors of rod crashes, including their families, to advocate for road safety.

The flag raising ceremonies in government offices the day or work immediately after the National Day of Remembrance shall be dedicated to road crash victims, survivors, and their families, and shall provide a platform for bereaved or affected employees to advocate the need for road safety.

Other related programs and activities as may be determined in the implementing rules and regulations of the Act may also be undertaken by the DOTr, in coordination with other government agencies.

The bill tasks the DOTr as lead agency in the meaningful observance of the annual National Day of Remembrance. In collaboration with public and private stakeholders, national and/or local steering committees may also be created for effective observance of the said event.

The DOTr, in collaboration with the DILG, LTO, LTFRB, MMDA and other concerned agencies and stakeholders shall promulgate the IRR of the Act. / Rowena B. Bundang, News and Documentation Section-Press and Public Affairs Bureau/ House of Representatives of the Philippines