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ROUGH CUTS | A class legislation?




AS PER the television news report the other day quoting the Department of Health (DOH), Davao City has a total of 11,556 CoViD 19 cases accumulated since the start of the pandemic in the Philippines about a year ago.

And based on the data of the said agency the city also has registered a total of 547 deaths due to the same infirmity.

For the last three days, we have no more idea how Davao City stands in the list of five top areas with the most number of infections daily.

Somehow, the Department of Health may have realized that releasing such information may not bode well with the sensibilities of the local officials as well as the people in the area concerned.

Indeed yes. Many people in the country have made it a point to listen to the late afternoon news on all available platforms just to find out whether their province or city is included in the Top 5 list of the DOH.

Somehow, it has developed into a sort of a race where everyone is closely monitoring but feels so uncomfortable if he/she finds his/her area landing in any of the spots in the leading five producers of new infections.

Our suspicion is that someone of influence might have called the attention of the gods at the DOH that it’s daily chronicling of the leading areas of new infection numbers is disturbing to the minds of the local leadership. Yes, it is very possible that the DOH’s attention is being pointed at.

Clearly, giving such information definitely reflects on the ability of the local leaders to carry the huge responsibility of implementing the various health protocols issued by the higher authorities so that the spread of the deadly virus will be impeded.

So, for now, we do not have any way of knowing how Davao City fares with other cities and provinces as to the number of new cases as well as its morbidity. All we know that for now there are areas in the country where the infection has spiked to a level that has invited concerns of the country’s health authorities.


Now here is this law that seems to be class legislation in itself. We are referring to Republic Act No. 11229 or the Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act. According to news reports, the bill that creates the law was passed by Congress some two years ago already.

However, its signature by the President was deferred and was only done recently. Supposedly the law was effective the other day. But according to the traffic component of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Land Transportation Office (LTO) they will not yet issue violation tickets.

They will give time for the conduct of a massive information drive on how the law shall be applied and how this can be effectively complied with.

First, there is some controversy as to its applicability. Somehow, the law is focused only on privately-owned vehicles. It is vague in its provision on how this will be applicable to public utility vehicles. According to reports, the responsibility of determining how the law be applied on public transportations is being delegated to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

For certain it will take time for the agency to come up with parameters on the matter. And whatever will come out from the LTFRB, for sure, will be met with howls of protests as these would be an additional drain on the operators’ already drying up resource base due to the pandemic as well.

Compliance with the law may not be difficult for private vehicle owners, though. They are presumed to be capable of acquiring the prescribed child seat. For after all, if they can afford to buy motor vehicles which are in millions or hundred thousands of pesos, why can they not afford a child seat priced at about P12 thousand pesos?

But their problem may only be the right choice of the child seat. It has to be the one that is manufactured by an entity duly accredited by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and whose product bears the ICC seal. Any child seat brand less than that will not be acceptable by the authorities.

But let it be the moneyed couples’ problem.
The poor families’ questions that need clear answers are: why have the framers of the law neglected the welfare of their children twelve years and below? Why is the law focused on private vehicle owners and hazy as to how this would apply to public utility vehicles where most of the children of disadvantaged families take in their daily commute?

Does this mean the authors of the law and those who prepared its implementing rules and regulation could have been thinking of protecting the children of the rich parents – their kind — as well as their vehicles and forgetting about the majority of children of low-income families?

How can they be so naïve, or biased to a particular class of citizens in this country? We can only wish of having the national leadership realized the inequity of the said law sooner. Safety to the children of a few is no guaranty to the safety of the majority. Is it?

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