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SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau

Chairman Cesar Sarmiento at United Nations General Assembly on Road Safety
16 April 2018 01:58:51 PM

General Assembly – 82nd Plenary Meeting
“Improving global road safety (Agenda item 12)

12 April 2018 (Thursday) – 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. – General Assembly Hall


Chairman, Committee on Transportation
House of Representatives
Republic of the Philippines


Mr. President,

Thank you for the floor to deliver the statement of the Philippines supporting the present resolution on “Improving global road safety.”

Mr. President, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Philippines wishes to express its solidarity with member States in reducing global deaths and injuries from road crashes and providing access to safe, efficient and sustainable transport systems.

Road traffic deaths and injuries not only adversely impact the economy, but devalue human life and send signals of despair and hopelessness to the public in general.

Mr. President, the Philippines is addressing this issue. Everyone is aware of the enormity of the problem. The Philippines has enacted the following seven laws that address key risk factors, that were identified by the World Health Organization, in support of the passage of evidence-based global road safety laws:

1) The Seat Belts Use Act of 1999 requiring the use of seat belts;
2) The Motorcycle Helmet Act of 2009 mandating the use of helmets;
3) The Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013 prohibiting driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs and other intoxicating substances;
4) The Children's Safety on Motorcycle Act of 2015 generally prohibiting any person to drive a motorcycle with a child on board;
5) The Anti-Distracted Driving Act penalizing distracted driving or the use of mobile and electronic devices while driving;
6) The Road Speed Limiter Act of 2016 addressing overspeeding by requiring the mandatory installation of speed limiters; and
7) The law extending the validity period of driver's licenses which also mandates strict driver's examination to weed out unqualified applicants.

Moreover, Mr. President, the additional law mandating the use of child restraint systems has already been passed by our House of Representatives and is now being debated in our Senate.

We take note of the enhanced cooperation in the international community and the support and assistance of various international organizations such as the World Health Organization and road safety advocates such as the Towards Zero Foundation and Global Network for Road Safety Legislators on this issue. Our synergized efforts have enabled the Philippines to push for these road safety laws and meet the road safety­ related Sustainable Development Goals.

Despite these efforts, the number of road traffic crashes globally remains unacceptably high. We are very concerned that, with the current rate of progress, halving the number of global road crash deaths and injuries by 2020 may not be met.

In the Philippines, we are also having a hard time meeting the target. As of the end of 2016, road crashes kill an average of 31 people a day and is a major cause of death for our youth. This figure shows a 40% increase on the number of deaths compared to 2006, ten years ago

What is happening in the Philippines and globally is demoralizing, but it is not for us to lose hope. Majority of these road crashes are predictable and preventable. Let us strengthen our resolve to address this issue so that we can save lives from being lost and individuals from being injured. Many families have lost a member to a tragic road crashes, which could have been predicted and prevented, had laws been observed or implemented, strictly.

We can do something, and we will do our best effort to address this.

Having said that, Mr. President, we support this present resolution which, among others, recognizes the United Nations Road Safety Fund to support progress towards achieving the road safety targets; invites national and international collaboration with the end view of meeting the said targets; and explores the need of defining a new timeframe for the reduction of road crash deaths and injuries.

We take special notice as well of actions cited in the Resolution that we believe will address the road safety issue on a cultural level. This is what is needed in the Philippines - to create a culture of road safety among our people.

The invitation to intensify national collaboration, particularly in the area of law enforcement, would help instill discipline and deter unsafe driving behavior. Promoting awareness through social marketing will increase the people's desire to prioritize road safety on a daily basis.

In addition, multi-stakeholder collaboration with the academia and youth organizations could highlight education and produce a new generation of commuters that have due regard for road safety. And more importantly, remembering the victims and working with them and their families would remind the people of the names and stories behind death and injury statistics, and inspire them to take appropriate actions to predict and prevent these road crashes and unfavorable events.

Mr. President,

I wish to underscore that: One life is too precious. One death is one too many.

With concerted efforts, we continue to strengthen our resolve on this battle. We put ourselves at the forefront together with the others to advance this goal in all its phases- politically, economically, socially and even culturally, for the sake of road safety.

Having said that, we reiterate our support for this Resolution and the continued implementation of the global program on improving road safety.

Thank you.